Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Big Content: ludicrous to expect DRMed music to work forever; Ars Technica, 7/29/09

Nate Anderson via Ars Technica; Big Content: ludicrous to expect DRMed music to work forever: Rightsholders can't understand why people who bought DRMed music only to have the authentication servers go dark might demand the right to crack the DRM. Big Content believes the idea that rightsholders "are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to copyrighted works" is laughable. Ha ha.:

"When Wal-Mart announced in 2008 that it was pulling down the DRM servers behind its (nearly unused) online music store, the Internet suffered a collective aneurysm of outrage, eventually forcing the retail giant to run the servers for another year. Buying DRMed content, then having that content neutered a few months later, seemed to most consumers not to be fair.

But that's not quite how Big Content sees things—just ask Steven Metalitz, the Washington DC lawyer who represents the MPAA, RIAA, and other rightsholders before the Copyright Office. Because the Copyright Office is in the thick of its triennial DMCA review process, in which it will decide to allow certain exemptions to the rules against cracking DRM, Metalitz has been doing plenty of representation of late.

He has now responded to a host of questions from the Copyright Office following up on live hearings held earlier this year, and in those comments, Metalitz (again) strongly opposes any exemption that would allow users to legally strip DRM from content if a store goes dark and takes down its authentication servers.

"We reject the view," he writes in a letter to the top legal advisor at the Copyright Office, "that copyright owners and their licensees are required to provide consumers with perpetual access to creative works. No other product or service providers are held to such lofty standards. No one expects computers or other electronics devices to work properly in perpetuity, and there is no reason that any particular mode of distributing copyrighted works should be required to do so.""

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