Subject: Re: When is Circumvention ethically and legally viable?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 18 Feb 2003 14:30:41 -0800

Chip Mefford <cpm@well.com> writes:

> >particular classes of works as to which users are, or are
> >likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make
> >noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention of access
> >controls
> 
> Now, I am not exactly the brightest bulb in the box, but
> could this statement have been more abstruse?
> 
> What in the world is this supposed to mean?

The copyright office is looking for specific types of information
(e.g., DVDs).  They should have these characteristics:
* The information is covered by copyright.
* There is some sort of access control on the information (e.g., DVD
  region encoding).
* There are some uses of this information which are explicitly
  permitted by copyright law (e.g., fair use).
* The access control prevents this type of use (e.g., DVD region
  encoding on a DVD you bought in a different region).
* Getting around this access control is prohibited (e.g., deCSS is
  illegal).

To put it more simply (I hope): the copyright office is looking for
cases in which people have been denied their fair use rights due to
access control, and they are prohibited from circumventing that access
control due to laws like DMCA.

Ian