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[Fwd: Copy Protection]

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Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
Laboratoire de Cristallographie               Phone: 41 (22) 702 62 49
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Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001 15:20:54 +0100
From: icsti <icsti@DIAL.OLEANE.COM>
Subject: Copy Protection
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1. A rather extreme view of copy protection

Extracts from an item from John Gilmore <gnu@toad.com> on Risks Digest:
"The Register [a UK based IT news site]
has broken a story of the latest tragedy of copyright mania in the
computer industry.  Intel and IBM have invented and are pushing a change
to the standard spec for PC hard drives that would make each one enforce
"copy protection" on the data stored on the hard drive.  You wouldn't be
able to copy data from your own hard drive to another drive, or back it
up, without permission from some third party.  Every drive would have a
unique ID and unique keys, and would encrypt the data it stores -- not
to protect YOU, the drive's owner, but to protect unnamed third parties
The folks at Intel and IBM who are letting themselves be led by the nose
are even crazier.  They've piled fortunes on fortunes by building
machines that are better and better at copying and communicating
WHATEVER collections of raw bits their customers desire to copy.  Now
for some completely unfathomable reason, they're actively destroying
that working business model.  Instead they're building in circuitry that
gives third parties enforceable veto power over which bits their
customers can send where. (This disk drive stuff is just the tip of the
iceberg; they're doing the same thing with LCD monitors, flash memory,
digital cable interfaces, BIOSes, and the OS.  Next week we'll probably
hear of some new industry-wide copy protection spec, perhaps for network
interface cards or DRAMs.)  I don't know whether the movie moguls are
holding compromising photos of Intel and IBM executives over their
heads, or whether they have simply lost their minds.  The only way they
can succeed in imposing this on the buyers in the computer market is if
those buyers have no honest vendors to turn to.  Or if those buyers
honestly don't know what they are being sold."
The original Register item does make some more rational points - the
proposed mechanism introduces problems for moving data between compliant
and non-compliant hard drives; modifications to existing backup
programs, imaging software, RAID arrays and logical volume managers will
be required to cope with the new drives, for example.
The proposals are being discussed in the technical committees of NCTIS
in the USA. Anyone got any further information??

2. US-based company, Modalis, has released the findings from an
international study examining the 130 "most visited" web sites in the
US, Germany, France, Sweden and the UK [Top 90 Web sites rated by number
of unique visitors for June 2000, based on calculations by PC Data and
of the 40 sites that are most visited by German, UK, Swedish, and French
home users as determined by Media Metrix/MMXI]  Results indicate that
site usability ratings are more important than speed or other technical
performance measures in generating overall appeal. The study examined
sites by evaluating the user's experience according to seven usability
components:  intuitive navigation, functional design, efficiency in
dealing with different levels of user expertise, minimalist design,
robust error management, help and documentation functions, and accurate
system feedback to the visitor. Further information about the study is
available from the company's web site: http://www.modalis.com/

3. The UK Patent Office has launched a major consultation exercise to
determine whether or not patents should be granted for all computer
programs and methods of doing business. The European Commission is also
running a similar consultation exercise. Methods of doing business
(whether over the Internet or not) are not patentable in the UK, but the
consultation asks whether such      things should be made patentable by
changing the law. The UK Patent Office's web site includes details of
how to get involved in the consultation process and joining the
newsgroup discussion. www.patent.gov.uk/snews/notices/softcons.html
Is this a strange interpretation?

On a new UK site: http://www.intellectual-property.gov.uk/ I found the
following sentence describing [one of] the differences between copyright
and database right:
"The term of protection for database right is much shorter. Database
right lasts for 15 years from making but, if published during this time,
then the term is 15 years from publication"
My read of that is that if you make a database you have protection for
15 years from the date of making, if you publish it you have 15 years
from date of publication. If I recall well my many years of discussion
with various people on the original database directive of the EU, the
whole question of when is publication actually "publication"? was hotly
debated. Is there a specific interpretation in the UK??

Stephanie de La Rochefoucauld, Admin.
51 boulevard de Montmorency
75016 Paris, France
Tel. +33 1 45 25 65 92
Fax: +33 1 42 15 12 62


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