[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Debian policy on copyright

On Wed, 2007-05-02 at 07:41 -0400, Marty wrote:
> The recent media debate over a released HD-DVD key, and resulting DMCA take-down 
> notices, got me thinking about a broad range of questions regarding Debian 
> policy about "IP rights" in general, and specifically about numbers as 
> copyrighted "intellectual propery."  Any piece of digital "content" is a single 
> number, so the issues raised by the copyrighted key apply to any other type of 
> binary data, including images, audio recordings, "ebooks," object code, etc.
> Like the banned key, an HD-DVD image is a single copyrighted number.  Losslessly 
> transcoded copies, as reversible mathematical transforms, would probably be 
> covered by the same copyright.  Some lossy transforms may also covered, but an 
> interesting exception is the HDTV broadcast flag, which applies a lossy 
> non-reversible tranform, presumably resulting in a public domain copy.  It begs 
> the question, at what level of transform lossiness does the copy lose its 
> "protection" and become public domain?

One cannot copyright numbers. The issue with the key, is that it is
being used to circumvent a copy protection scheme, which is a violation
of the DMCA.

> I have long questioned whether copyright can be clearly enough defined to be 
> generally enforceable. To be a useful, it must be very narrowly defined.  It was 
> initially limited by available technology, and the original purpose was to 
> protect the investments of book publishers, indirectly protecting society's 
> access to books.   Now copyrights have been expanded and interpreted as broadly 
> as possible, with clearly adverse effects on society's access to information. 
> In one extreme example, copyright was used to keep popular folk songs out of 
> Girl Scout song books.  The HD_DVD key seems to yet another example of the abuse 
> of copyright laws.
> I wonder how Debian policy is shaped in this area, and how it's applied to the 
> free/non-free designation of various programs?  Is there a democratic way to 
> determine policy?  If Debian lawyers are involved, which country's laws are 
> followed?  Is there any place where these policies are clearly publicly stated?



gpg-key: http://www.zettazebra.com/files/key.gpg

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: This is a digitally signed message part

Reply to: