Electronic Frontier Foundation Press Release
Standards Committee Rejects Hard Drive Copy Prevention Scheme
Electronic Frontier Foundation Applauds Victory for Fair Use
For Immediate Release
Apr. 4, 2001
John Marttila - CAFE Project Manager
Robin Gross - Staff Attorney for Fair Use & Intellectual Property
Apr. 4, 2001, San Francisco -- At least for now, the copy cops will not patrol
your computers' hard drives. On April 2, the T13 technical
standards committee rejected a "Proposal to Support Generic
Functionality" that provided for a Global Unique Identifier (GUID)
enabling copy prevention technologies to tether computer files
to a specific hard drive.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) joined the T13
technical committee, responsible for establishing Advanced
Technology Attachment (ATA) standards, in response to
proposals for copy prevention technologies. EFF's "Defending
the Public Interest: The UnFair Use of Standards" document
warned that copy prevention standards would take choice away
from the public while eliminating many fair uses in this digital age.
Specifically, EFF cited legal uses of copyrighted materials that
would be eliminated, such as media library backups and
excerpting from works for educational and critical purposes.
"Copy prevention's defeat is a victory for the public's right to
choose technologies that don't police their use of files at home,
preventing them from exercising their legal fair use rights,"
according to John Marttila, manager of the Electronic Frontier
Foundation's Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression (CAFE).
Marttila attended the last meeting of the T13 technical committee
in February, when he voiced public interest concerns surrounding
hardware copy prevention. "Clearly it's not the end of this fight,
but we're certainly relieved that, for now, T13 has chosen not to
facilitate copy prevention through the standards." The system was
to be called Content Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM).
In recent years, EFF has defended vigorously the public's fair
use rights and the individual's right to choose fully functional
digital recording technologies. Along with joining the T13
committee as a voting member, EFF has opposed the Secure
Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) and is currently defending several
lawsuits challenging people's right to possess and publish
DeCSS, a computer program that allows Linux computer users
to decrypt and watch their own DVDs.
In what seems like an intensified re-run of technology battles over
VCR's recording capacity, recording and movie studios
represented by the Recording Industry Association of America
and Motion Picture Association of America are wielding a
tremendous amount of lobbying and litigating power to prevent
new technologies from reaching the market place with recording
and copying functions fully intact.
"Under the guise of 'protecting copyright', the industry is
attempting to kill fair use and effectively prevent works from
passing into the public domain - two of copyright's primary
goals," stated EFF intellectual property attorney Robin Gross.
"EFF's CAFE campaign is the only organized effort to combat
the imposition of anti-copy technology on the public."
EFF's Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression (CAFE) Homepage:
John Gilmore's "What's Wrong With Copy Protection":
"Defending the Public Interest: The UnFair Use of Standards" [PDF format]:
(there are said to be some broken links in this document)
The T13 Technical Committee:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in
1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to
support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the
most linked-to Web sites in the world:
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