FSF Europe - EUCD - Copyright extensions that harm
Meanwhile, the EUCD has been implemented in all EU member countries.
These pages are kept for archiving purposes.
EUCD - Copyright extensions that harm
In December 1996 in Geneve the WIPO Copyright Treaty was signed by
most, if not all, developed countries. By signing this treaty these
countries compromised themselves to give away the right to use a
copyrighted work in favour of protection of electronic protections,
independently of their effectiveness.
Today we are starting to see the effects of this kind of
legislation. The U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and
the European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD) pass the WIPO treaty
into effective law. This page is about the effects of this kind of
legislation and related resources.
The risks of this kind of legislation are:
Monopolies on file formats - This is the issue that
is worrying libraries. The ability to effectively control a file
format means that each e-book format will have its own reader and it
will only be readable by that company's reader. Maintaining access
to all the different kinds of readers throughout decades needs the
kind of personnel and technological ability that libraries can't
afford right now, not to mention the cost of e-book readers that
they'll need to have to give access to the library's users.
Interoperability - If you can't use and share tools
to analyze protocols, because they can be used to circumvent
ineffective technological measures, then it's not possible to put
two systems working together unless both vendors publish information
on the protocols they use. Knowing the trend of proprietary software
vendors to trap a client in its systems, this is not a realistic
Insecurity - In the last years the full disclosure
movement has made considerable improvements on the whole security of
computer systems. This was done by forcing vendors to correct the
vulnerabilities through the publishing of vulnerabilities even if
they weren't corrected in a limited timeframe. To avoid an image
problem most vendors started correcting in days what used to take
months or even years to do. With this legislation a vulnerability
that allows the circumvention of rights-management information
cannot be even communicated. This means that full disclosure is not
an option, and that we all lose its advantages.
Freedom of Speech - By allowing copyright owners to
freedom of speech. The most recent example is Microsoft Frontpage
2002's latest End-User License Agreement (EULA) that prohibits the
usage of the software to create sites that criticise Microsoft or
any of its subsidiaries.
The pieces of legislation that follow the letter of the WIPO Copyright
This legislation as already been analyzed by law professors, experts
and others. Following is a sample of those analysis:
Organisations against Copyright Extensions
Some organisations have understood the impact of this kind of
legislation and have made statements about it: