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You are here: Home Blogs Licensing FSF Supports Proposed Exemptions to DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rules

FSF Supports Proposed Exemptions to DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rules

by Brett Smith Contributions Published on Feb 10, 2012 05:48 PM
The Free Software Foundation submitted comments to support exemptions to allow users to install free software on all kinds of devices, and view and play media encumbered with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes it a crime to create, distribute, or use technology that can circumvent technological measures that prevent copyright infringement. It's easily the worst, and most infamous, part of the DMCA; these rules make useful free software, like the DeCSS routines to read encrypted DVDs, illegal to use or distribute in the US.

The law also says that, every three years, the Library of Congress will create a list of classes of works that are exempted from these anti-circumvention rules. The last time this happened, the Library of Congress created an exemption for “jailbreaking” software to let users install software of their choice on smartphones.

Now this process has been gearing up again. The United States Copyright Office recently solicited feedback on new classes of work that should be exempted from the anti-circumvention rules, and comments about those. The FSF has submitted comments supporting proposals that can help free software adoption and development: one group of proposals to allow users to install software they choose on any restricted devices they own; and another allowing people to play and view DRM-encumbered media. The full text of our submission is available for you to read.

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