7.28.2010

Tasty Tidbits 18: Snack-sized but still full flavored

First off, there are two pieces of good news. That's right: good news. First, DRM can be broken if you aren't trying to infringe copyright. Via boingboing:
Here's some remarkable news: a judge in a New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Appeals Court has ruled that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's ban on breaking DRM only applies if you break DRM in order to violate copyright law. This is a complete reversal of earlier rulings across the country (and completely opposite to the approach that the US Trade Representative has demanded from America's trading partners)....

It's up to the plaintiff, MGE, to appeal to the Supremes, but even if they don't, it's only a matter of time until there are new cases in the Fifth Circuit (or other circuits that follow its lead) that lead to highest court handing down some new law on this. Let's hope they see the sense of Judge Garza: "Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the (Digital Millennium Copyright Act's) anti-circumvention provision."
In another article from boingboing:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation drove three deep wedges into the US prohibition on breaking DRM today. EFF had applied to the Copyright Office to grant exemptions permitting the cracking of DRM in three cases: first, to "jailbreak" a mobile device, such as an iPhone, where DRM is used to prevent phone owners from running software of their own choosing; second, to allow video remix artists to break the DRM on DVDs in order to take short excerpts for mashups posted to YouTube and other sharing sites; finally EFF got the Copyright Office to renew its ruling that made it legal to unlock cellphones so that they can be used with any carrier.

These are major blows against the tradition in US law of protecting DRM, even when DRM wasn't upholding copyright. For example, Apple argued in its Copyright Office filing that it should be illegal under copyright law to install iPhone software unless Apple had approved and supplied it (akin to the principle that you should only be allowed company-approved bread in your toaster, or Folgers-approved milk in your instant coffee).
And...while these two good news items may not last, they are a bright spots.

National Geographic has an article and accompanying photos up showing how oil glows under a black light. I'd make a rave joke but it's just still too sad.

Bluntcard.com has fantastically funny images that you can get made into magnets, t-shirts, mousepads, etc. I'm kinda partial to Dial Tone. Or Old Space.

Also---HUMPDAY!

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