EU Copyright Directive Report

beSpacific points to a new report from the foundation for information policy researchImplementing the European Union Copyright Directive (Press release). With all the lawsuit activity, I missed this entirely.

Here’s the ToC:

  • Introduction

    • Background

    • Problems in the United States

    • Immediate public policy objectives

    • Wider public policy objectives

    • The Copyright Directive

    • Options for implementation

    • Summary of implementations

  • Country reports

    • Austria

    • Belgium

This excerpt from Introduction alone suggests that there’s lots to gain from giving the whole 128 page document a read:

Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society has proven more contentious than its drafters foresaw. This EU Copyright Directive (EUCD), as it is commonly known, allowed only 19 months for implementation by Member States. But controversy in many of the fifteen States meant that only Denmark and Greece met this deadline.

Given the experience in the United States with a similar piece of legislation passed in 1998, this may be less surprising than it seems. The EUCD and the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) both give new protection to “technological measures:” systems that restrict the use of literary and other works in digital form based on instructions from their owners. Even legitimate users of such works are forbidden from circumventing such measures. Tools that facilitate circumvention are also banned. This has led to problems in the US for innovators, researchers, the press, and the public at large.

This guide describes the debate that has occurred within each of the EU states during this process of implementation. It also describes the options that are available in implementation, and how these options have been exercised across the EU. Our aim is to provide information to government and civil society bodies in the countries that will be joining the EU during 2004, and hence who must also transpose the Directive into national law as part of that process. These organisations will then be in a better position to represent the views of copyright users in the debate over transposition, in order to ensure a proper balance between the rights of rightsholders and users.

Ernest Miller on indirect copyright liability

See this LawMeme posting: Sue Kazaa Not Consumers? – with good links for those of us who can’t get at the WSJ online article that stimulated the question.

Certainly this Wired News article provides fodder for this position: Rude Awakening for File Sharers

“My mom paid $29.95 for Kazaa and assumed she was using a legitimate service,” said Marilyn Rodell, whose mother is being sued. “How was she supposed to know the difference between Kazaa and something like Pressplay where you pay $9.95 a month?”

[…] “My mother has been painfully law-abiding all her life, and is beyond horrified that she became a criminal simply by subscribing to a service that appeared to promise her unlimited access to music, movies and books,” Rodell said.

“Kazaa has a very pretty, very professional-looking Web page. I paid them a fee and assumed it was a legitimate way to buy music,” said Karyn Columbine, a Manhattan resident who insists she was “shocked and scared” when she discovered that the fee she paid to Kazaa didn’t cover legal music downloads.

Update: Mary Hodder’s got a link to the WSJ editorial text

Audible Magic – P2P Spyware Development

CNet describes the development of Audible Magic‘s collaboration with the University of Wyoming to develop a P2P sniffer for network control: Teamwork brings P2P spying app closer

The product is one of the most ambitious among those being designed to rein in unauthorized trades of copyrighted works online, and it carries with it some of the most potentially serious privacy concerns. Most other services, such as Packeteer, work by blocking or controlling the amount of bandwidth available to file-trading applications, rather than by looking inside the transmissions themselves.

Audible Magic’s own technology specializes in identifying songs by their digital “fingerprints,” or acoustic characteristics.

But combined with Palisade’s network-security technology, it could become a powerful monitoring tool for network administrators or copyright holders. The joint product is designed to intercept all traffic on a network, make a copy of it, and then make a running examination of that copy for items such as Kazaa or Gnutella traffic.

When it finds digital packets originating from file-swapping software packages, it will compare the contents against Audible Magic’s database of fingerprints. If it finds a match to a copyrighted song, it will stop the transmission of a song in progress, even if some of the file has already been transferred.

Recall that a Palisades representative testified at the P2P and Porn hearing this week – Coverage of the Judiciary Committee Hearing on P2P and Pr0n

A couple of eWeek pieces

  • DRM: Restrictions May Apply

    As Peter Coffee points out in his Labs’-Eye View, DRM technologies are often loved by content creators, who are happy to protect their content, and hated by end users, who don’t want their fair-use rights abridged.

    […] However, companies also need to make sure they restrict DRM to where it is necessary. Once a DRM system crosses over into annoyance, the desire to defeat it increases–and pretty much every DRM system can be defeated.

    […] Still, companies must understand that no matter what their choice, DRM is not a cure-all. In eWEEK Labs’ experience, any DRM restrictions can be easily defeated through the use of remote control, digital cameras, or even pen and paper.

    Keep this in mind when deploying DRM because if the restrictions become too annoying, even a normally honest user might tap one of these methods to get around the hassles of DRM. And once this happens, your whole investment in DRM goes out the window.

    Related: The Best DRM Policy May Be No Policy at All

    In many ways, DRM is the IT equivalent of chemotherapy: It tries to kill the cancer of content theft without killing the benefit of that content to legitimate users, both those who have paid for it and those who rely on traditional doctrines of fair use.

    The difference, of course, is that it’s the content creators who suffer from content theft, while content users suffer from the remedies proposed. Not surprisingly, users resist the assumption of that burden.

  • Patents of Mass Destruction

    In a post to the Apache Software Foundation’s e-mail list, Java guru Noel Bergman said that if Eolas’ patent covers as much as it seems to, “the idea of an Open Source browser is rendered meaningless.” And Simon Phipps, Sun Microsystems’ chief technical evangelist, said in his Weblog, “When it becomes impossible to create a pool of open, shared standards for common use … our future will stall–corporate ownership is not an option.”

    If anything, the Eolas patent verdict demonstrates a rapidly emerging crisis in intellectual property governance. Software and process patents, such as Amazon’s infamous “one-click” patent (and the equally infamous and even more ridiculous patent #6,368,227, “Method of swinging on a swing”) demonstrate how the underfunded and overtaxed Patent and Trademark Office has lost its grip on the pace of change (and reality) and is becoming an impediment to, rather than an agent for, progress.

    Even if the Eolas verdict is reversed on appeal, similar intellectual-property claims (like those of SCO) will continue to be used by the well-lawyered as a deterrent to innovation by parties both large and small. It’s time for Congress to take a good, hard, lobbyist-free look at software patents, if not for an outright rejection of them. [emphasis added]