OT: Legalese [Re: And another Ubuntu convert!]

Mario Vukelic mario.vukelic at dantian.org
Mon Jan 26 20:30:08 UTC 2009

On Mon, 2009-01-26 at 15:30 -0400, Derek Broughton wrote: 
> > 1. Member States shall provide adequate legal protection against the
> > circumvention of any effective technological measures, which the person
> > concerned carries out in the knowledge, or with reasonable grounds to
> > know, that he or she is pursuing that objective.
> Who can argue with that?  (OK, any lawyer, could, but I _think_ it says 
> there should be laws to prevent me stealing somebody else's property).  I 
> don't think it says I should only be able to play a DVD on a specifically 
> authorized device - which the DMCA does.

It says nothing about "stealing" whatsover. It is only concerned with
accessing data that was in some way DRM-ed by the provider. The
existence of DRM is enough to define it as "effective" (per "3. For the
purposes of this Directive, ...")

It seems to me that it says that if the DVD pretends to be protected in
any way (i.e., CSS), then members states shall make laws that forbid to
circumvent such measures knowingly (i.e., installing libdvdcss2)

> > 2. Member States shall provide adequate legal protection against the
> > manufacture, import, distribution, sale, rental, advertisement for sale
> > or rental, or possession for commercial purposes of devices, products or
> > components or the provision of services which:
> > 
> > (a) are promoted, advertised or marketed for the purpose of
> > circumvention of, or
> > 
> > (b) have only a limited commercially significant purpose or use other
> > than to circumvent, or or rental, or possession for commercial purposes
> And putting deCSS into my movie player so that I can play a DRM'd DVD that I 
> own, doesn't seem contrary to that either.  

No, because installing deCSS is neither "manufacture, import,
distribution, sale, rental", nor "advertisement for sale".

However, creating deCSS == "manufacture", downloading it from a foreign
server == "import", and "distribution" is clear enough. 

> I particularly like the "limited commercially significant purpose or use" - a lawyer would make 
> mincemeat of that.  

Depends on what you can afford and how important you are. Also, as you
reminded me earlier, this is not the text of the law, just the

> Is it "commercial (purpose or use)" or (commercial 
> purpose) or use"?  If the former, then it tends to delegitimize any non-
> commercial software, whatever its purpose, and if the latter it tends to 
> decriminalize deCSS provided you don't actually copy anything.

I don't understand how you read any of that into it. It says that
devices are illegal if they have no other (purpose or use) than to
circumvent. Whether this is the case will likely have to be demonstrated
by manufacturer or buyer and be decided ultimately by courts.

You cannot read it as "(commercial purpose) or use" because then the
sentence makes no sense, at least AFAICT. I interpret the parentheses in
this case to rephrase it as such:

"[Devices that] have only a limited commercially significant purpose or,
alternatively, use other than to circumvent". 

What would "or use other than to circumvent" mean? Or do I misunderstand
your parenthesis? 

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