Leadership

Video: Three ways you might be breaking the law with your computer

Most of your users probably don't see themselves as criminals, but they might be pretty clueless about the legal implications of what they're doing or storing on your network. In this IT Dojo video, Bill Detwiler gives you an overview of several recent laws and their implications for IT.

For many years, the Internet was like the "wild west," operating largely unregulated. But, the days of the carefree and unregulated World Wide Web are just about over. Legislation affecting the use of Internet-connected computers is increasing at the local, state, and federal level.

With such a proliferation of legal activity, it's possible that you, or your end users, are violating the law without even realizing it. In this IT Dojo video, I'll give you an overview of several recent laws and their implications for IT.

I'll discuss the following laws, case law, and proposed pieces of legislation:

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (or DMCA)
  • No Electronic Theft (or NET) Act
  • Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008 (combines the PRO-IP Act and PIRATE Act)
  • Right of Customs officers to search laptops and other digital devices at the border crossings
  • "Tools of crime" laws
Note: Before you watch this video, let me provide an important disclaimer. Although I actually have a background and degrees in criminal justice, I'm not a lawyer. Nothing in this video should be construed as legal advice. I provide an overview of recent legislation, discuss how it's been interpreted by the courts (if applicable), and outline any possible implications for IT.

After watching the video, you can learn more about recent IT related legislation by reading Deb Shinder's article,"10 ways you might be breaking the law with your computer"--the basis for this video.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

154 comments
chcrenshaw
chcrenshaw

you guys are first class all the way /just another example/my friends at Miller Canfield etal MI.and eleswhere/Jim Vantine licensed in Mi. and Illionois will appreciate AMDG carl(chc)

tigger76
tigger76

What about the Fair Use laws? the right to make one backup for archival purposes? seems like we are getting boned for legitimate people.

cartmit
cartmit

It really disturbs me that Bill and others discuss these laws without even the HINT of disbelief or disapproval at the obvious absurdity, not to mention unconstitutionality, of the latest inroads by our growing police state.

chaz15
chaz15

is good, people (or at least some people)will buy it. Believe it or not this gives a lot of people a VERY good living. Problem is laws are made at the behest of EXTREMELY OBSCENELY STINKING RICH companies. They want money to be used to BUY priviledges off them. But according to their rules, pity help the poor who can't afford their STUPIDLY EXTORTIONATE PRICES. Hence most of us end up breaking the rich companies laws. The 'piraters' at least give hope to the Third World Countries who can listen to the Beatles etc and all that is good in the world!!!!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I assume they expected these laws to be adhered to everywhere else too, but it just didn't fly here. DMCA steps well outside of Canadian personal provacy laws and also goes against our Constitutional Rights to own and STORE a copy of all copyrighted materials, which includes library books, novels, magazine articles and anything else with copyright on it. Our laws make DRM illegal not the other way around. Even after the recent changes to the Canadian copyright act, which are signed but not yet enacted, we have relief from such restrictions. It all began when they allowed the surcharge for blank media, which is only actually added these days at London Drugs, Future shop/Best Buy still don't charge it. It allows the labels to collects millions of dollars for the artists, which mainly sits in limbo now as they have no way of distributing it properly. This in effect means that the copyright has been paid for and any copies are legal anyway. The above also instantly removes the NET Act (which is yet another American only law). Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008: Now here's one we ALMOST jumped on, the equivalent Bill61 in Canada was an attempt to change the copyright laws so that only ONE copy could be made for personal use only and must be stored on an approved media such as CD-R. But again, as we pay a surcharge for blank media, or are supposedly paying anyway, we circumnavigated that one too. One change to Canadian law WOULD have been a notice to ISP's that they must retain custom useage records to identify possible offenders. BUT....even then, offerign that information to a company claiming copyright infringement would also be a breach of Canadian privacy rights where an ISP cannto divulrge such information without court order, terying ot fid a supreme court judge that will ignore privacy rights has proven to be an impossible task for CRIA and the MPAA (which has been what has saved us from Canada cowtowing to US laws all these years now). "Right of Customs officers to search laptops and other digital devices at the border crossings " Doesn't effect me unless I take my personal notebook across the border, at which time any copyrighted material could raise flags for the unaware/clueless customs staff and result in hassle, but nothing that is a criminal offense for me to worry about. ???Tools of crime??? laws" - No crime? No tools of crime. Sometimes, actually several times daily, I just thank my lucky stars that my parents moved back to the UK to have me instead of moving to California (the other option) as I would have been born American and been subject to laws that infringe on my personal rights and freedoms each day.

aaron.newton
aaron.newton

Cool. I remember when I went to university they scanned files for Maya (a 3d suite) that were stored on the network (Maya files contain license information). If files without an appropriate license were found they charged both the student and the university, so there had to be a database of Maya licenses that students owned stored on campus. This always seemed pretty crazy to me since it's not the university's fault that the files were uploaded in fact they were trying to crack down on it (automatic failure and possible exxpulsion for students found to be using cracked software or invalid license information).

Sagittary
Sagittary

I've been in the computer industry for thirty years (9/23/1978). I've seen a lot of changes over the years; some good, others ... not so much. I have been a member here at TR for several years and, until today, I've only read the posts of other technicians. Today will be different. I think that all of us need to keep in mind that these "laws" and "acts" are created and enforced mostly by people with little or no technical background. Any "experts" used in their "decision-making processes" have, no doubt, been well rewarded. Somehow, the idea of a customs agent (who probably needs help turning on his/her home computer) searching my computer doesn't "float my boat" either, when he/she should be checking for terrorists and other serious threats (Today is 9/11)! Just because companies like MS and others who are "raking users over the coals" did not mean that any laws had to be created to support them. Just because you can do something stupid, doesn't mean you have to. A billion dollar a year company couldn't have lost too much money along the way and, they're not losing enough now to cause concern, let alone legislation (talk about a waste of tax dollars!). The problem is what it always is: GREED! How much is enough? By virtue of their existances large corporate entities DO NOT need protection by the government any more than the RIAA does. In the case of the RIAA, most of the artists get very little of the the money paid for on each CD, record or, tape (I think my age may be showing here) that are sold. That is why the artists HAVE to sell "a kabillion copies" just to make a living. Most of the artists are broke or very close to it. The RIAA takes the lions share of the money so, governments decided to protect the "poor defenseless RIAA" when they should have protected the artists FROM the RIAA! The artists don't lose as much from so-called "copyright infringers" as they do from the RIAA to begin with. These new laws and acts are not designed to protect anyone but the "fatcats" they always protect. They fit right in with tax breaks for the rich and corporate, the inexcusable rising price of oil, the "uncapping" of the power companies, and the international out-sourcing of American jobs! The government doesn't care if YOUR job is affected by these "laws and acts" any more than whether or not YOUR life and the lives of other "everyday people" are made miserable by them. This government has never really had any respect for technicians anyway! Unfortunately, the idea is being sold around the world! The ancient Romans had similar problems in their Senate. I hope this Republic does not suffer a similar fate. What to do? What to do? Well, we still do have elections in this country. Its the only real recourse we have. So if we collectively continue to "sit on our thumbs" because we "don't know anything about politics" then we have no right to complain. On the other hand, the legislators passing these kinds of laws "don't know anything about technology" but they're not having a problem messing YOUR life up. Maybe we need another political party: the Technocratic Party. Nuff said!

bgordon4
bgordon4

I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that computer code is held to the same copyright as books and the like. Unlike a patent for something like a lock pick set. Wouldn't this mean that hacking tools are protected under the first amendment? Tools such as the antenna described in the video are not protected, but if legislators want to outlaw code, they need to either make software patented, rewrite a new form of intellectual property law, or otherwise the only thing they should be able to enforce is copyright infringement.

therealjakesweet
therealjakesweet

I am in a part of the industry where this will actually protect some of my content .. I am happy to pay for licenses for software and content .. it is the way it SHOULD be .. the only ones complaining are the masses who refuse to pay for this and that which they have downloaded with out thinking who it really belongs to and who they are effecting .. just my thoughts ..

dougbrong
dougbrong

In the early 80's music companies hated cassette tapes. They claimed that people taping would put them out of business. I remember Sony wanted every blank tape to have a $1 fee, to be given to the record companies. Then they claimed the same against video tapes, then CD's. Our European friends are very perceptive. Soon, in the US, there will be a law against everything. Not that they will be enforced, but will be used to persecute people who offened/get in the way of our Big Brother government. They're only songs!

c.deolde
c.deolde

Good heads-up, I would be interested how matters stand in Europe now as well. Maybe for a follow up?

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

And who will watch the Watchers? All the "watchers" need to be checked out before anyone else. Let's see how "clean" their computers are before they pass judgment on everyone else.

meaparicio
meaparicio

Dear Bill: I'm so sorry for the north american people! (U.S. citizens). Your country has becomed a repressive, police state, mainly because the people is acting like "goats" in a herd. Criminalization, the way it is intended in the laws you mention, is simply a better way for the "all mighty" police state you live under, to control every aspect of your existence. Even the basic principles established in legal doctrine are violated by the institution of "potential crimes". Consider this: Having a car might be a clear "intention" to ride over someone! Having a knife might be enough "proof" to jail you for a potential inclination to stab some guy! Having money might be taken as a definite intention to buy something harmful to "others"! What you are actually seeing, dear Bill, is the new totalitarian culture, where the, not so hidden, powers of industry have created the pseudo "intelectual property concept". Their idea, succesful indeed, because of the "herd behavior", is basically to prevent any research, understanding and investigation on industrial procedures, as to prevent destruction of the enormous monopoly in technology matters. Watch it bill. Because very soon, saying what you say in this video, could be taken "legally" as an "ilegal warning" to "potential law infringement", advising "criminals" to prepare better ways to fool the Extreme Intelectual Police Force Xzar!!! Remember: People control is always derived from restrictions, prohibitions, and "rights protection"! I'm so sorry for the People who now lives under a total distrust and repression. The US money should say now: "We trust nobody, even God"... Mike

g-man_863
g-man_863

The big, bad lobbyists for the entertainment industry have been working overtime to create tougher laws and their fantasy of an "entertainment czar" -- but at what [i]ultimate[/i] cost to the public? It's logical to spend time (and our tax dollars) on large-scale piracy issues involving thousands of copies of bootleg movies or software. Using the courts to go after every individual who downloads a few songs or posts a minimal amount of copyrightred material on [i]Myspace[/i], however, is a gross disservice to all Americans. Our criminal court system is already stretched beyond its limit. Given many more serious offenders (rape, murder, assault, etc.) are often given a "plea deal" of 75-80% less prison time than the crime calls for in order to avoid the time and expense of a trial, adding illegal downloads to the court dockets will come at the expense of either more plea deals for dangerous felons or tax increases to cover extra prosecutors, public defenders, judges and courtrooms. Regarding civil lawsuits, does the entertainment industry really think it can pull blood from a rock in the form of huge judgements against home users (let alone cover its legal fees) in pursuing the case? Even if they succeed in winning a huge verdict, the most it will accomplish is driving the defendant into bankruptcy and possibly onto government assistance (our tax dollars). If civil suits are filed against a major company with deep pockets, a jury will have to consider if the actions of a few rouge employees (especially if they are terminated for their actions) justifies a huge award. Even if the plaintiff hits the jackpot, there could be fallout (layoffs, reduced business tax revenues) that will affect the general public. The best solution is for our government to consider the true cost of such litigation and proceed accordingly. An individual caught breaking copyright laws for personal use should first get a warning to cease. If they ignore it, either suspend their home Internet service for a period of time or issue them a realistic fine (an amount in line with a speeding ticket or other minor infraction).

mw00110011
mw00110011

While all this moaning and screaming about big government meddling in copyright echoes across my monitor, I wonder who hacked and ran off 30 copies of Edison's first recording for their close friends. Sure - "They" want control. Maybe Edison got mad and invented 'Copyright' between light bulb experiments. If you are in the habit of making copies of your favorite ABBA tunes for your car CD player and gym-workout-MP3 player you might feel threatened by these rules and laws. Especially when one idiot goes after an "innocent" to make their point. If you have six servers running Windows Server 2008 but can't seem to locate even one halographed DVD, you should be nervous. But from a business perspective - it is the big guys pandering $5 copies of Windows Server 2008 or (God forbid) Vista Business Premium on Bangkok street corners causing the 'real' damage. And once someone has 'their' pirated copy of something 'desirable' or 'useful' how dare you ask them to get legitimate! Right On! Power to the People! And by the way, When you're speeding (and by speeding I mean more than 5 MPH over their so called 'limit') down my street, listening to your 'hacked' copy of ABBA, please roll up your windows. Apparently, I'm already cranky.

greg.hruby
greg.hruby

1) build an open system to connect users 2) allow it to transfer voice, video, text, graphics 3) criminalize the transmission of the most desireable data 4) require an "agent" to police the system "even handedly" 5) tax the system to support the policing 6) expand the policing duties 7) expand the taxes to support the policing. who didn't see this coming?

work
work

As most people, the speaker makes no distinction between civil and criminal law. Law enforcement agencies do not get involved with civil law at all. Period. End of story. Only one criminal law is on the books at the federal level regarding copyright infringement, and that's when a person acts as a clearinghouse, distributing at least ten copies of an item. For the remaining statutes which are civil, they make it easier for a harmed party to obtain a civil judgement in court, in the United States it is the responsibility of harmed parties to pursue their own self interest and initiate civil proceedings themselves, and it is not a law enforcement issue, or "criminal". Nevertheless, it remains ethical to not violate civil statutes, though no criminal action takes place, and an organization should not be opened up to civil liability.

tr
tr

The NET act clearly states that you have to make/take money from a transaction, and it has to be for "goods worth a total of more than $2500" So the notion that you can go to jail for copying a CD for your girlfriend is just utter BS.

jbezdan
jbezdan

I think section 107 and 108 as well as court decisions play into all of this. The way you described things in this video, you made it sound like having anything on your PC could be a crime.

bus66vw
bus66vw

How About an IT Lobbyist? If this keeps up the Internet will be useless.

kurt
kurt

My opinion is that the US is on track to become completely fascist. Search of laptops and of one's personal property without probable cause at the borders and airports violates the Fourth Amendment. Wiretaping of our telephones without a search warrent is the same thing. I hope that all of the folks that participate on this forum have the gumption to stand up for the US constitution and will vociferously communicate this to Senators and Congressmen who seem as of late to do nothing for the average US citizen and instead are installed to protect corporate officers from prosecution! It seems that the tactic of our 'elected' officials is to first go after the Second amendment, then the Fourth amendment, and the First Amendment (effectivly it has been squashed by allowing only 4 corporations to control most major media outlets). Soon we will be like the Jews in Poland and Germany under the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. It's really no different. Americans need to wake up and pound on their unresponsive government officials until they wake up to honor their oath to protect the Constitution. Otherwise these people (government officials) that are offering us protection at the expense of our Constitutional Rights will do dark and nefarious things to us. Do not let your fears be our own worst enemy. Because many men when put into positions of power become corrupted, history has born this out time and time again that government really never is your friend unless held in check by an enlightened, intelligent, and noisy populace.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Using the same logic, you will be getting a speeding ticket while parked in a fast (capable) car, in the parking lot. I recon goverments are so f*&^ckup it's not funny. Perhaps we should be jailed for having a brain which could be used to commit a crime? I guess, that lets off government agents...

whatnut
whatnut

This video is ridiculous. The responsible thing to do is to follow these laws that are clearly incoherent and do not stand to reason when you observe reality? The Responsible thing to do would be to rid us of these laws. They have nothing to do with copyright infringement or terrorist surveillance. It's funny to hear how the dojo address Europe as if it was one country with one legislation.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

"The 'piraters' at least give hope to the Third World Countries who can listen to the Beatles etc and all that is good in the world!!!!" Who cares what sounds flying insects make?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

get everyone you know out to vote - don't vote for either party, just vote for the first damn independent on the ticket. Get enough independents into both houses (and it matters not if they're one subject people or not) and you'll scare the arse off the two major parties as they'll finally see a voter backlash that can hurt them in their personal pay packets.

Barry ZA
Barry ZA

In the movie "A Murder of Crows" (am I allowed to mention the name or is it plagiarism?), the question was asked "Why do we have lawyers?", the answer - "Because there are lawyers". They have to justify their existence, so more and more ridiculous laws are "promulgated" every day. And the US has more lawyers per capita than any other country in the world... At least they keep the luxury car makers going. And Armani, Rolex, etc.

salemail
salemail

- "Watch it bill. Because very soon, saying what you say in this video, could be taken "legally" as an "ilegal warning" to "potential law infringement", advising "criminals" to prepare better ways to fool the Extreme Intelectual Police Force Xzar!!!"- How so TRUE! The only reason any of this even matters, is if the 'sheep' following it 'care'. I for one, do not obey these laws, so if they want to waste $10,000 taking me to court for copying a song onto my MP3 player I copied off the original CD I purchased 5 yrs ago (lost the reciept and disc) to send me to jail and fine me for the $3.00 song off iTunes.... then GOOD LUCK! - whats the worst they can do, when almost everyone does it? seriously. Its just like the talking on your mobile phone laws in Australia - I got pulled over and fined $225.00 for reading a text while waiting for traffic - LOL... if I actually believed this was wrong, and not just a technical way of violating a law (such as arresting 80yr old lady for downloading a song when the laws were created for companies earning $$$ from pirating) then that is OK, but well it is just a way for the LAW to increase its revenue so I will be standing up against it, even though techincally I was wrong - so I am innocent until proven guilty :) - an easy beat in the courts ;) THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF COMPLETE POLICE STATES

public
public

There is no freedom of press. There is no freedom of speech. There is no freedom of assembly. There is no habeas corpus. It's all gone, and we are left with a horrible police state coasting on past prosperity. Coasting slowly to a stop. When it comes to a stop, it is going to be so ugly the mind boggles. The founders made one really big mistake. They should have had a sunset law on the republic, dissolving it every 100 years, and forcing the states to reform it, if they so choose. Sure that would be disruptive, but nothing compared to what is waiting in the wings.

herlizness
herlizness

... I'm so sorry for the north american people! (U.S. citizens). Your country has becomed a repressive, police state, mainly because the people is acting like "goats" in a herd ... sad to say, so much of what you say in your post is true ... but we're too busy arguing over "social issues" and falling in love with an Ice Queen disguised as a Hockey Mom to have any time for things like freedom

JonathanPDX
JonathanPDX

It is an inevitability, to be sure, that we are moving swiftly toward a totalitarian state. Our votes are essentially ignored, we are handed our candidates to vote for, usually those who garner the most money from corporate interests, we are prodded and probed and micro-managed to the very items we browse online. Could this be some shadow government wielding its might behind the scenes? Hardly. It's simply big business skillfully manipulating things to end up with a better bottom line, regardless of the cost to human suffering. People are no longer assets, they are liabilities, to be dropped the moment things turn slightly sour, as the savings from not paying their wages and benefits markedly improves the bottom line. And regardless of how bad things go, the fat cats always get their golden parachutes and bonuses, even if the company ends up going under. 5000 people out of a job? The big guys don't care...they got their pound of flesh and the peasants will have to fend for themselves. September 11, 2001 showed us how we have become a nation of sheep, blissfully allowing ourselves to be herded into pens and maneuvered into situations that offend not only our civil rights, but our dignity as well. Hearkening to the cry of "Wolf! wolf!" we watched our soldiers get sent off to a war of our government's making, fueled by big corporate profits for the likes of Halliburton and KBR, and bought with American blood. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated so poignantly in his 1933 inaugural speech, "...let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." The advance we need to partake of is a taking back of our liberties from the corporations and restoring it once again to the hands of the people. We need to eliminate the laws that give corporations the same or greater rights than citizens. Alas, it will never come to pass. So long as the days of so many are filled with the modern equivalent of bread and circuses, and the masses cover their eyes and ears and fear to speak out against tyranny, we will forever be the stepping stone of the rich and powerful and be continually trampled under their industrial machines while quivering at their false warning of impending doom at the hands of invisible terrorists.

dougbrong
dougbrong

Did you know that in the US, it is against the law to decode a signal. That's right, public airwaves. Direct TV went after individuals who programmed their own cards.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I suggest you reread the amended text of the NET Act, available here: http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/17-18red.htm The original description of "criminal infringement": (a) Criminal Infringement.--Any person who infringes a copyright willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain shall be punished as provided in section 2319 of title 18. The amended description of "criminal infringement": (a) Criminal Infringement.--Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either-- 1. for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or 2. by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000, shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.

chris
chris

I always thought that the laws the government made were generally bad. Of course they may attempt to do well, but since they fail to think the law through, they are usually messed up. Vote Libertarian and get those damn Democrats and damn Republicans out of the government.

jacob3273
jacob3273

"Americans need to wake up and pound on their unresponsive government officials until they wake up to honor their oath to protect the Constitution." I couldn't agree more; but we also need to pound on our equally unresponsive fellow citizens who keep sending the same chumps to our nation's capitol to continue their snooze. The truth is, we get the government we deserve because of our snoozing electorate.

Claptrap1
Claptrap1

"Soon we will be like the Jews in Poland and Germany under the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. It's really no different." Just look at the laws, and the soon coming laws about large downloads, in England (and the amount CCTV surveillance, reminds of a certain book by George Orwell) - we have already reached that stage. :-(

yawningdogge
yawningdogge

Your understanding of the constitution is flawed. The constitution was not written to protect our rights to do bad things like steal intellectual property. A law against theft is completely unneccessary until a theft is committed. Long story short, we have the government we deserve. In my experience, the ones shouting loudest about their rights being violated are the very ones abusing those rights to begin with.

support
support

A couple went on vacation to a lake. One day, the woman takes the rowboat onto the lake and is sitting there reading a book when the game warden pulls up in his boat. He demands to see her fishing license, and she says, "Why? I'm not fishing here, I'm reading." He says, "You have all the equipment here, and you might start fishing after I leave so I have to write you up." Then he starts writing her a ticket. She says, "Well then, I would like to report a rape." He asks, "Who raped you?" She says, "Nobody yet, but you have all the equipment for it so I have to report you."

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

as very few actually recognise anything outside the USA borders except Mexico and Canada, and another few will recognise the Caribbean.

AttackComputerWhiz
AttackComputerWhiz

Europe is not one country, but those countries that are members of the EU can be considered as one entity with common laws that apply to all. Among those laws are those concerning copyrights, patents, fair use and the like. It is merely a shortcut to say "Europe". I guess it is too much to believe that some of us DO know the difference.

library assistant
library assistant

It doesn't matter if the laws are stupid or not, they are the law. Remember that as long as the original material is from the US, the copyright falls under US laws no matter what country hacks it. You live and Oslo, but if you download something that is illegal here, but may be legal there; it's still illegal. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the laws, the responsible thing is to follow them. That's why they are called laws and not suggestions.

gstrickland
gstrickland

Indeed. It's the age old "World Series" American Baseball syndrome again - where only teams in the USA can take part!! But in defence of the author, it must be bad enough trying to get to grips with the laws within their own American States, let alone all the different countries that constitutes Europe. ;-)

santeewelding
santeewelding

Just what familiar pen have you been maneuvered into? Your cry is not original. You did not surmise and you do not publish this manifesto. The singular evil you push does not in any way whatsoever explain me. The dire predicament you describe for me does not fit. It must fit you. You are indeed not only in the pen, but standing in deep doo-doo. Not a thing I can do for you.

mrohwohlt
mrohwohlt

It's a pay for service much like cable TV. The only difference is the transport media. That's why they make you purchase a receiver that comes with a card that needs to be authorized (activated) with your account info. Just because you can decode it doesn't make in free for public use. If you were smart enough (and you maybe) to be able to encode a magnetic card with account info (like thse folks did with the DTV card) go to a MAC machine and withdraw cash it would be illeagal. Even though a MAC machine is out in a public area. I truley hope you can see the point.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

If I read this correctly, someone could make about 65 copies of a CD (with an average price of $15) every 6 months without being in violation of the law. The last sentence seems like it could exclude personal backups or use in personal devices, and it also may exclude any copying that is not with the intent of subsection 1. Of course I am NOT a LAWYER and this is MERE SPECULATION and should not be taken as advice. I personally think that if you are copying 1000 songs downloaded from I-Tunes and they are going to other people, then there is probably some personal "gain" going on even if it's not financial. Bill - Is it just me or is there some parts missing to the "original" definition? There is no statement about the amount of financial gain or any amount of copying which would, in my opinion, make the original much more sever. Maybe this is covered in a different area of the law? Bill

garyleroy
garyleroy

Pass laws that are fair and reasonable to all, and the majority of people will respect them. Pass special-interest laws authored by overpaid lawyers working for massive organizations of people leeching their pay from legitimate artists' work, and good luck getting people to obey. The government needs to quit cowtowing to these pushy lawyers and stand up to them...the average citizen can't afford to, so they are bullied by this worthless bunch. The more ridiculous the law gets, the more it will be ignored. I wonder what we'd be paying for DVD's if someone hadn't figured out how to copy them? A whole lot more than we pay now, you can bet. And the lawyers and execs would be the ones raking in the extra profit. Having the threat of easily bypassing their copy protection forces them to keep their prices reasonable, their product attractive, and actually benefits us all. As it is, with these ridiculous laws being rubber-stamped by wimpy legislators, people do the only thing they can do with unreasonable laws, they ignore them as much as possible. Good luck enforcing a new intellectual property law when there are 200 million violators...maybe we need some old-fashioned justice to run these greedy lawyers and execs out of town...tar and feathers?

salemail
salemail

Its not all the government - it's easy for us to sit here and winge and blame the government, but would the laws still exist if 99% did not follow them? If we had the gumption to actually stand up to the coercing lawmen and politicians as 'little fish' then said law would be void. Is a police man going to pull over the 9 out of 10 cars speeding on the highway? 2 of them being lawyers, 2 being convicts, 2 being mothers/fathers and so on.... if there was 1 NAZI for every 9 Jews, would there have been the halocaust? I know it is far fetch, but not really, I want my kids to have some rights, and if not rights then the gumption to stand up to the corrupt.. or why do we bother with any of it? Copyright Laws = Search Anyone anytime for nothing = Incarcerate without charge = kill if you feel threatened = stone age... where is this leading? Enough said.

DaemonSlayer
DaemonSlayer

Oh how the truth rings in it, and with humor too.

BizMan
BizMan

Without getting into the politics of the matter, my biggest complaint here is when American politicians try to regulate something, like the internet for instance, which is clearly not totally under their jurisdiction. WWW = WORLD WIDE WEB, and we all must remember that this is a world wide issue, not a truly American issue. While some may call this an unrealistic dream, for any copyright law to make sense, there has to be a truly world wide network to enforce it. Here are some World Wide Attempts to regulate intellectual property... World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an organization formed by 116 countries to promote technology sharing among member countries. http://www.wipo.int/portal/index.html.en Many countries participate in international copyright trade agreements. The Berne Convention http://law-ref.org/BERN/index.html and the Universal Copyright Convention http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p14_universal_copyright_convention offer international protection to member countries

kupplerski1954
kupplerski1954

Stupid laws are made by stupid people. Only the mindless herds of sheep follow blindly, without question, without resistance. Nothing gets better without fighting for "whats right". Remember, "People rise to the level of their incompetence". People in "positions of power", who make these stupid laws, have an alternate agenda: They are only out to make a name for themselves. They are not looking out for the common good.

whatnut
whatnut

"You live and Oslo, but if you download something that is illegal here, but may be legal there; it's still illegal." Sorry, you don't have any jurisdiction here. Personally I don't consider myself a criminal though I'm most probably liable for copyright infringement in the very bizarre nature of said law. This is from doing the very same thing as the majority of the society is doing? If a law breaks with a convention it is void and will be the focus of revision after the next high court trial establishing a precedent. Look up DVD Jon. The laws used to be FOR the people, not AGAINST them. I think the Dojo should've focused on the RL problem of copyright infringement, namely the use of a whole range of filesharing applications that may compromise the security.

PerverZo
PerverZo

Sure, you are right. They are laws, not suggestions. But they are US laws, not worldwide laws... Using your example that materials originated from the US fall under US jurisdiction -> Let's assume that China legislates a new law that every person using hardware made in China shall pay a monthly fee to the Chinese government - regardless that you already paid for your equipment. Would you follow this law and obey Chinese regulations, even though you are a US citizen, please?

whatnut
whatnut

Especially since laws and bills are passed overnight without regard to the country's own constitution... ! .. which would seem like another good argument NOT to follow these paper laws.

dougbrong
dougbrong

The thrust of my response is that a very tiny fraction of people are going to go to the effort to crack an encryption scheme. IMO it's similar to "it's just a song" how big of crime is it really? Is this something the government really has to be worried about (given the war, the economy, mortgage crisis, health care, social security, etc) You may not be old enough to remember when the libraries first got copy machines. They had large signs informing you it was against the law to copy books - Duh, what else were you going to copy? Besides, the library got 10 cents a page. If you want to put a song on a CD with no protection, then you run the risk of it being copied. If you want to broadcast a signal, over the public airwaves, and you want it to be private, then it's up to you to provide the encryption.

work
work

Anarchy does not work. It always reduces to modified anarchism and we end up having laws and government again. The point is not to promote disobedience, but understand the difference between civil and criminal law. Intellectual property is in the domain of civil law. But owners and stakeholders often posture civil law AS IF it was criminal law: don't copy that tape, the FBI is watching, etc. No disobedience is necessary. There isn't that much really to disobey. Quit listening to the posturing and hype. They put stuff out there to make money with it. They assume the risk. They calculate potential profit. An argument is, if no protection is given to intellectual property owners, there won't be any incentive to make anything. GO FIND ANOTHER LINE OF WORK. I will not pay tax money to provide you a risk free, guaranteed form of profit.

whulse
whulse

I did say I avoided things that are copy prottected to a great extent. Most of us with common sense realize you cannot avoid it all, but common sense is not as common as one might think, so I will say that in my little late piece I was writing of purchasing things such as CDs, DVDs and etc. I limit my TV watching to recorded (for my own purposes, to skip commercials) programing and I do store them temporarily on a HDD in case I want to see it again. If you want to get right down to it, I suppose that PVRs and such could be classed as illegal, but I really don't care. Since the government is in bed with the media and entertainment world, and money is involved, and the government desires to keep the average joe from getting ahead in the financial world (as evidenced by the current banking, credit card, and mortgage financial fiascos) you know that you cannot turn to the government for any relief. Guess we will just have to live with it until it gets to the point where we the people decide to get serious about all the immoral political and financial deviations going on and revolt against it. In this upcoming election we won't get much, if any, relief of the current conditions. Change will be attempted by whichever side is elected, but with a do-nothing Congress still in place there won't be much movement. However, we should be mindful of what we wish for as a change because change just for the sake of change can be either good or bad, and we will get what we wish for as a majority of voters of a wide variety of education from zero to some maximum with a questionable average which could be as low as the fifth grade. Greed being widely practiced, it is a crap shoot whether we will survive as a country much longer, since most powers have failed at about 200 years or so. I could go on, but I won't because it would be an exercise in futility. I do what I can do and tolerate the rest. Have a nice day.

mrohwohlt
mrohwohlt

Most (if not all network shows) are copywritten. Recording of shows are for personal use and may not be rebroadcasted without permission. You may see the copywrite in the closing credits (usually too fast to see but it's there). You say you've boycotted allot of material that is copywritten. You would have to avoid all publications, news shows, TV shows, movies, and SW (which you are using, read the EULA) :-) Copywriting material can protect the author by giving rights to things they have ceated and to give license to those who wish to use said material. It is up to the individual who holds the copywrite what they do. copywrite 2008 MjR

whulse
whulse

Doing much about all these BS laws is a bit late at this point. Where they should have initiated the fix was many years ago, when they should have shot the first lawyer and eliminated the need to have the second lawyer and all those who followed. The only way to stifle this trend is to do an absolute boycott of any material which is copyrighted in the first place. I have done this to a great extent. I have not purchased a CD or DVD for several years, and I am still alive and well without them. I have eliminated satellite and cable TV, and limit my watching over the air TV to a great extent, watching only time shifted recordings to avoid ads and all. As far as I am concerned, if you watch TV at all you are watching a 'diddle box' because all you see, or hear, on TV (and a lot of radio stations) is sex, violence, or violent sex. If you tune in, the first thing you see is a commercial for Viagra, someone thinking about, looking for, or participating in some form of fornication; else, they are telling you how good their food is, followed by a commercial telling you if you get heartburn from what they told you to eat they have a drug to relieve the problem! To hell with all of it, I am simply SICK of it, and sick of constantly hearing of it! That's my feelings about it, and I'm sticking to it by sticking it to them! It's all about the money. Money is not the root of all evil, the love of money is. If you don't like the system, wait until we go full socialism here in the 'good ole USA' and then if you can't afford to buy a CD of your choice, the government will buy you one as long as it doesn't say something they disapprove of. I can hardly wait! If I could find someone to vote for that I thought would change anything, I wouldn't have to vote for the lesser of two evils, but that won't happen this year.

houstonman
houstonman

Ok,I purchase music on a cd.Ok here's the rub.I don't own it.I paid for it,but i dont own it.As well as other programs we buy like from microsoft.We limited.

d.oltmann
d.oltmann

Dear Whatnut et al, Somebody ought to do something about this worldwide legal quagmire. Sincerely, Mr. David Oltmann

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

business of checking copyright infringements willy nilly. At the most they should be involved, via the police, for the closing down of major pirate operations and that's all. But the crazy USA laws are another issue and until the USA citizens can send a message to the Con-gress an Senilate (no spelling errors) that such wrong laws mean no support in the next election, you'll continue to get such rubbish.

work
work

I've sold software myself. Someone who owns intellectual property and wants to make money with it, must accept the nature of the market, that it is what it is. There are many limitations, such as people copying it. As one who knows, if you don't like the nature of the market, get out and find another line of work! Why should people pay tax money just to provide a secure and happy, risk-free environment for you? If you make something, how you market it and maximize profit from it is up to you. There is no guarantee, and once you put it out there, some people will take advantage. If you don't like that, don't do it! You must weigh whether profit is ultimately worth the effort, even if some people appear to use your effort for free. That's just the way it goes. I like society the way it is, and I don't want a totalitarian state just to facilitate a few people, people like you maybe?

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

If your friend buys a print of my book and hands you that print to read, that's his legal right to do so - supported by the Berne Convention and the International copyright laws. If he makes a copy of the book and hands you that while keeping the original, he's violated the copyright - he made an unlawful copy. Simple, isn't it. People exchange purchased prints and recordings of legal copyrighted stuff all the time, as gifts, as second hand goods, etc - that's legal as they're handing on a legal copy with the limited rights they purchased. The real sanity saver is to make the cost of purchase of the book or software such that people find it NOT worth the hassle or risk to pirate. Sadly it's hard to tell corporate fat cats that people aren't buying their products because they're pricing themselves out of existence - as is happening with RIAA and co.

whatnut
whatnut

That's true, but that's because his books were shamelessly plagiarized, this before his own intentional release. This is besides the point, and a peripheral problem (pirating in cinema, bootlegs etc). For example, if I got BAND B's latest album prior to its release and make money from distributing it without consent or anything, I'd agree that I was stealing. But that's a pretty unusual situation. Example 2: I pay for SONG A. When I go to Germany, the US, Canada, Russia, China or whatever, I've still paid for SONG A. Say I go there and have forgotten to bring my mp3 player, it was stolen or whatever. This does not change the fact that I have still paid for SONG A. So downloading it from the greatest network in the known universe should not be illegal. It is paid goods I am downloading. But in the eyes of the law (of some countries) I am doing something illegal, namely using the distribution network to acquire a file I have already paid for. But then I don't speak legalese. I rely on common sense and social conventions for my arguments. My sense of a law is that is supposed to promote desired behavior and discourage unwanted behavior. De facto social conventions give the norm for law-making. So if laws are opposed to common sense and convention, I would disobey either knowingly or unknowingly, and my point would be proved two-fold.

Fairbs
Fairbs

"In my understanding the actual copyright hassle is created by big companies who do not defend the interest of authors, musicians, filmmakers but their own profit." That is an inherent unfairness, but the artists sign away their profit rights (or at least some of them) to the big companies. The big companies are using lobbying / legislation / influence (money) to protect their interests (who wouldn't), but they're also not taking advantage of changes in technology to satisfy their Customers. Remember the cost of CD's when they first came out and how the music industry said that was temporary while the new technology matured. Those prices never went down and as consumers we accepted it and the record companies got used to it. Free markets are most often a fallacy protected by government and big business.

mrohwohlt
mrohwohlt

In your example, your friend had given you an originally published book. It was purchased from the publisher, no problem unless. If he had copied the book and sent it to you or, if the publisher had it written not for export to other countries (as the case with certain software) and he sent it to you it would be a violation of copywrite.

PerverZo
PerverZo

I do respect your intentions, but don't share your viewpoint. Let's say that a friend of mine buys a book in the US. He likes the book and sends it to me, which I receive and read. I don't see crime here, but copyright defenders do. In my understanding the actual copyright hassle is created by big companies who do not defend the interest of authors, musicians, filmmakers but their own profit. IMHO, adapting to (and not futilely trying to control) the relatively new ways of internet communication could be a real sanity saver for most of these people ;) Regards, Zo

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

If you think US copyrights don't apply internationally, you should check out the following PDF: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ38a.pdf While it's true that no "international copyright" law exists, several international copyright treaties and conventions cover most countries. But, international copyright is neither a new issues or exclusively the concern of US authors. During an 1842 trip to the US, Charles Dickens expressed concern about the then lack of US copyright laws.