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The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations, 2003

Comment 1st July 2010

Repeal the The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations, 2003, and introduce a law with more restrictive scope (such as the version passed in Germany, including fair use provisions) until the EUCD can be repealed in Europe.

Why does this matter?

The The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 is the British implementation of the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD), which is the European version of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The DMCA is an act which was bought by lobbyists, attempting to protect dying business models.  It protects entrenched interests and stifles competition.  For example, the act outlaws reverse engineering for interoperability, dramatically increasing costs for IT infrastructure.  

The EUCD was passed in the EU due to pressure from the US to 'harmonize' copyright laws and was introduced into UK law in 2003.  The anti-curcumvention provisions in this law make it illegal to distribute tools that allow circumvention of copyright protection mechanisms, even if these tools are being used for purposes that are reasonable, such as creating private backup copies or format shifting (e.g. to play a DVD on a mobile device).  

The effect of these provisions is to implicitly permit content creators (and, as a writer, I am in this category) to exercise control not only of how their work is published, but also of how it is used.  For example, although not (yet) enforced, a strict reading of this law makes region-free DVD players illegal.  

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