Saturday, May 8, 2010

Digital dimensions

Will you be hauled up for making personal copies of your favourite paid-for downloads, or for converting them to different formats for private use, under the provisions of the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill? The answer is no. Can you move your books from your Kindle to an iPad or another digital book device? Yes, you can. That’s because the provisions in the amended Bill do not make it illegal to break Digital Rights Management (DRM) as long as you are not violating copyright i.e. making copies for commercial exploitation. Simply put, DRM is the tool used by hardware manufacturers, publishers and copyright holders to control the access — by blocking copying and conversion to other formats — an end-user has to a digital product. It has been a hotly-contested issue world over, with consumers arguing that it allows record, movie and software companies and digital device makers to create a virtual monopoly by restricting the access rights of even a legitimate buyer of a music CD, movie DVD, digital books or computer games.

For instance, in countries like the US, UK, and in the EU, an iPod user cannot transfer songs procured through iTunes — which she has legally paid for and downloaded — to another mp3 device because of encrypted technological barriers, and breaking these codes to make personal copies is illegal. The zone coding of movie DVDs is another example of how DRM limits how and where you can watch a movie that you have paid for: you cannot play a zone 2 DVD on a zone 1 player and vice versa. Critics of the DRM regime are plenty and they’re not just irate consumers . Back in 2007, even Steve Jobs, in an open letter on his company’s website, called for the abolition of DRMs, arguing that they had done precious little to check piracy.

Full report here Times of India

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