On Wednesday, the Copyright Office/Library of congress published its determination in the latest triennial exemption rule-making. Congress mandated that the register of copyrights revisit the anti-circumvention provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) every three years to ensure that consumers have proper access to things they have purchased. Six exemptions were granted.
Among the exemptions is protection for security researchers if they come up against another DRM technology that puts the security of computers at risk. Such an example was seen with Sony BMG's controversial protected CDs that used rootkit-like techniques to hide the protection deep in a Windows operating system.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Persons making noninfringing uses of the following six classes of works will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) during the next three years.While the exemptions do highlight cases where the DMCA cripples fair use, all the proposed exemptions that would benefit consumers were denied (space-shifting, region coding, backing up DVDs etc.)
1. Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university’s film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors.
2. Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and that require the original media or hardware as a condition of access, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.
3. Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete. A dongle shall be considered obsolete if it is no longer manufactured or if a replacement or repair is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.
4. Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read-aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.
5. Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.
6. Sound recordings, and audiovisual works associated with those sound recordings, distributed in compact disc format and protected by technological protection measures that control access to lawfully purchased works and create or exploit security flaws or vulnerabilities that compromise the security of personal computers, when circumvention is accomplished solely for the purpose of good faith testing, investigating, or correcting such security flaws or vulnerabilities.
Electronic Frontier Foundation