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NY Times: Copyright Office Backs Ban on Code-Breaking Software

Oct 30, 2000, 13:22 (17 Talkback[s])

"In a decision giving copyright holders greater control over the way people use books, movies and music that are distributed in digital form, the United States Copyright Office on Friday endorsed a new federal law making it illegal to break the technological safeguards for such works."

"The provision endorsed by the copyright office is part of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Congress passed the act to update the copyright law for the digital era, when copying on a mass scale is far easier than it has ever been. Under the act, it is illegal to create or distribute a device like a computer program that can crack the copy- protection security code on an electronic book or a DVD movie disc."

"This year, a federal judge found that the Web site of 2600 magazine, whose publisher is Eric Corley, had violated the law by distributing a program designed to break the security code on DVD's so that they could be played on computers running the Linux software operating system. But when the judge issued the ruling, the law did not prohibit the actual use of such a device by individuals because of the pending review by the copyright office. Congress had asked the copyright office to determine whether any exemptions were necessary to ensure that the rights of the users of copyrighted works were balanced with those of copyright holders."

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