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Most of all, the USCO’s decision bodes well for the makers of copy-protection software—especially the kind that can’t be turned off by hitting the "shift" key.
COPYRIGHT OFFICE SAYS:
DON'T COPY
Ruling Makes Few Exceptions for Getting Around Copy Protection on CDs and Other Products
The U.S. Copyright Office decided on 10/29 to make only minor exceptions to anti-copying rules in the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Reuters reports.

As a result, provisions outlawing circumvention of copy-protection on CDs, DVDs and software stayed mostly intact. Consumers will therefore not be legally permitted to make personal copies of protected discs or to use hacking methods to get around advertisements on DVDs.

The only exceptions recognized as legit by the USCO involved lists of websites subject to filtering software, translating ebooks into Braille and the use of software designed for now-obsolete technology.

The USCO’s decision bodes well for the makers of copy-protection software—especially the kind that can’t be turned off by hitting the "shift" key.

A representative for the consumer-rights org the Electronic Frontier Foundation expressed representative dismay. "Consumers are the real losers in today’s ruling," asserted EFF staff lawyer Gwen Hinze after pausing her Chinese download of Runaway Jury, "because the Librarian of Congress is ignoring the rights of nearly everyone who has purchased CDs and DVDs."

Consumer advocates also warn that leaving the DMCA's anti-copying rules in place could adversely affect research for security purposes.

Entertainment-industry reps were naturally pleased by the decision, and added to the recent Congressional decision to allot a nice chunk of change to fight piracy, it makes for a nice week for rights holders.

What's more, it's largely agreed that the U.S. Supreme Court will revisit many issues related to copyright soon, perhaps as sweepingly as it did in the landmark 1984 Sony vs. Universal decision (commonly known as the "Betamax" case). A recent luncheon sponsored by the Beverly Hills Bar Association saw RIAA and EFF reps rehearse arguments over file-sharing and related issues, the Hollywood Reporter noted on 10/30.

William Rehnquist, now Chief Justice of the Supremes, was on the dissenting side of Betamax's 5-4 ruling, which permitted VCRs for copying purposes. Most participants in the debate agree Rehnquist's conservative views will likely loom large in any new rulings.

At the time of the Betamax decision, the MPAA's Jack Valenti compared the threat posed by VCRs to the menace of the Boston Strangler. Of course, home video has turned out to be less than catastrophic for the film business.

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