Introduction:

Content duplication laws have recently run amok, but it's not required to perform a massive overhaul of copyright laws to solve this.  What's required is that a definitive list of consumer rights is produced, and considered to have a higher priority than the definitive list of content publisher rights.

For example:

Consumer rights

  1. Consumers have the right to duplicate content for the purpose of backup / disaster recovery
  2. Consumers have the right to duplicate content by transferring to a digital media format, for the purpose of playback on digital media equipment, such as portable media players, digital media adapters, computers, etc.
  3. Comsumers have the right to play media in a private context such as a private party or family gathering.
  4. Consumers have the right to access offline content whenever, wherever, and however they choose.  (which makes Ubisoft's PC DRM illegal – yay)

Consumer right exclusions

  1. Consumers do not have the right to duplicate media for the purpose of sale or free transfer to an unrelated individual or group, or piracy.  (Knowingly uploading to a public website, for example, would be illegal)

Clarifications

  1. Piracy is defined as illegally procurring a copy of content that is reasonably available in the country where the act occurred.  (which means that releasing The Shield DVD in the US does not mean it's available in the UK, thank you very much, Fox)
  2. Anti-piracy ads automatically exempt content from any anti-piracy protection afforded by the law.

Publishers would have the right to protect their IPs, but not at the expense of my rigt to use content that I have paid for. 

Why is this idea important?

Up until recently, there was a law that effectively made MP3 players illegal or useless.  No-one knew about this, and if the law had been enforced there would have been an outrage.    There's a law that prevents me from taking a DVD I own and playing it back on my MP4 player because it says I can't bypass the copy protection.  It's like buying a fire extinguisher but being told it's illegal to use it on at temperatures above 20 degrees C.

Meanwhile, everytime I watch a DVD that I paid for I am subjected to 10 minutes of ads accusing me of being a pirate.  If I were to take a pirate copy of that same DVD I would not get the same treatment so I am being punihed for being honest.

This law needs to be brought into line with 21st Century exectations of what I should be able to do with content I have paid for, and it needs to scrap the DRM technologies that do not work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *