Brazil has proposed a broad update to its copyright law
(Portuguese) and it contains a surprising idea: penalize anyone who
"hinders or impedes" fair use rights or obstructs the use of work
that has already fallen into the public domain.
A huge win for consumers? Sure, but it gets better. A moment's
thought reminds us that most DRM schemes will eventually run afoul
the above provisions, since they apply in perpetuity. That DRMed
music file will still be DRMed even after the song has fallen into
the public domain.
...Contrast this with the US approach to copyright in the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which said nothing about
time-limited DRM and made circumvention illegal in nearly all
cases, even when the intended use of the material would be
The Supreme Court of Canada has been very active on copyright
issues over the past decade with cases such as Theberge, CCH, and
Tariff 22. In the Theberge case, Justice Binnie identifed a crucial
point when it comes to striking the right balance on copyright,
"The proper balance among these and other public policy
objectives lies not only in recognizing the creator's rights but in
giving due weight to their limited nature. In crassly economic
terms it would be as inefficient to overcompensate artists and
authors for the right of reproduction as it would be self-defeating
to undercompensate them."
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