There’s a great deal to be thankful for this year. Too much to write about here, really. So let’s talk about copyright instead:
NEW YORK – Cell phone owners can now break locks to use their handsets
with competing carriers, while film professors have the right to copy
snippets from DVDs for educational compilations, the U.S. Copyright
Office said Wednesday.
Other rights declared in the government’s triennial review of the 1998
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
seek to improve access for the blind and to obsolete works and let
security researchers try to break copy-protection technologies embedded
All told, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington approved six
exemptions, the most his Copyright Office has ever granted. For the
first time, the office gave an exemption to a group of users.
Previously, Billington took an all-or-nothing approach, making them
difficult to justify.
"I am very encouraged by the fact that the Copyright Office is
willing to recognize exemptions for archivists, cell phone recyclers
and computer security experts," said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with
the civil-liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Frankly, I’m
surprised and pleased they were granted."
But he said he was disappointed the Copyright Office rejected a
number of exemptions that could have benefited consumers, including one
that would let owners of DVDs legally copy movies for use on Apple
Computer Inc.’s iPod and other music players.
I, too, am glad to hear of the exemptions the government is willing to make, but am unclear on what it actually means. Time will tell . . .