02 September 2005

AUS-FTA lossess about to start biting

Donna Benjamin was kind enough to forward a message from the Australian Copyright Council, which mentions the following items:

The AUSFTA requires the following amendments to the Copyright Act:

Hands up anyone who can’t see a bad moon rising?

- sanctions against the manufacture and supply of devices designed to circumvent TPMs that control access (whether or not that access control is for the purposes of inhibiting or preventing infringement);

In other words, just add some access control to your product — ANY access control, no matter how pathetic — and you can start suing your customers when they “circumvent” it. Fabulous.

- replacement of the “permitted purposes” for which a circumvention device or service may be supplied with more limited exceptions; and

Translation: throw any hopes of reverse engineering into the bin.

- introduction of a procedure under which a person may be allowed to circumvent a TPM in order to make non-infringing uses of copyright material, where the “actual or likely adverse impact on those non-infringing uses is credibly demonstrated in a legislative or administrative proceeding”.

What this means in practical terms is that Joe Schmoe can no longer just work around problems and limitations in a product and be presumed innocent, they now have to involve lawyers and politicians (and megabucks) first.

But of course, all of this intrustion into the Australian way of doing things is necessary in order to obtain the great benefits of the badly-misnamed “free trade:” agreenment. Somebody remind me: what were those benefits again?

No comments: