It’s copyright week…
From phones to cars to refrigerators to farm equipment, software is helping our stuff work better and smarter. But those features come at a high hidden cost: the rapid erosion of ownership. Why does that matter? Because when it comes to digital products, owners have rights. Renters on the other hand, have only permission.
The source of the problem is simple: copyright. You may own your device, but your use of the software in it is usually governed by the terms of an End-User License Agreement (or EULA). And that license agreement is likely to restrict your ability to tinker with your stuff. Typical clauses forbid reverse-engineering (e.g., figuring out how the software works so you can adapt it), transfer (e.g., giving it to a friend or selling it on the secondary market), and even using “unauthorized” repair services at all.
Further complication: the software may be saddled with digital locks(aka Digital Rights Management or DRM) supposedly designed to prevent unauthorized copying. And breaking those locks, even to do something simple and otherwise legal like tinkering with or fixing your own devices, could mean breaking the law,thanks to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
And then there’s repair-manual lockdown, which happens when manufacturers refuse to publish crucial repair information (including the manuals themselves, but also things like diagnostic codes for cars)—and then threaten to sue anyone else who tries to do so with a lawsuit for copyright infringement.
The end result: fair uses are impeded, users are disempowered and trained to go hat in hand to the Apple store just to change a battery (rather than doing it themselves). Users are forced to make do with DRM-crippled devices that are fundamentally defective and compromise our security.
Who Will Own the Internet of Things? (Hint: Not the Users) | Electronic Frontier Foundation.
[The EFF is] taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what’s at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.
All around the world, copyright policy is on the agenda. In the United States, lawmakers are nearly two years into a process that promises to lead to the “Next Great Copyright Act.” In Europe, parliamentarians are re-examining some of the basic elements of the “Information Society Directive.” In Australia, the Law Review Commission and the Attorney General are butting heads about which direction to take reform. And through all this, courts and companies are changing the way we think about our relationship to media and technology.
Internet users need to be part of that discussion.
It’s Copyright Week: Let’s Take Copyright Back | Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The Senate released a 528-page executive summary of its study on the CIA’s detention program, more than eight years after the secret overseas prisons were shut down. The report rejected many of the agency’s claims on the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques.
Read it yourself.
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program – Washington Post.
On October 30, 2014, the Data & Society Research Institute, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and New America’s Open Technology Institute hosted the first annual conference on Data & Civil Rights on October 30, 2014 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. This year’s conference focused on why “big data” is a civil rights issue. The event convened a diverse group of people from the civil rights community, government, industry, philanthropy, and research.
via Data Civil Rights.
You might have read that, on October 28th, W3C officially recommended HTML5. And you might know that this has something to do with apps and the Web. The question is: Does this concern you?
The answer, at least for citizens of the Internet, is yes: it is worth understanding both what HTML5 is and who controls the W3C. And it is worth knowing a little bit about the mysterious, conflict-driven cultural process whereby HTML5 became a “recommendation.” Billions of humans will use the Web over the next decade, yet not many of those people are in a position to define what is “the Web” and what isn’t. The W3C is in that position. So who is in this cabal? What is it up to? Who writes the checks?
via On HTML5 and the Group That Rules the Web.