[Fsfe-ie] EUCD, status, todo

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Wed Nov 26 16:00:15 CET 2003

Right, this directive has already been adopted by the EU, so we can't
change the directive, but Ireland have not implemented it yet, so we can
still have a say on how Ireland interprets it.  Directives aren't copied
into law, they're a list of instructions that say how current law has to
be changed to conform, so there's quite a bit of room for

Unfortunately, some countries have used this room for interpretation to
implement laws that are even worse than required.

The gist of the EUCD is that it will be a criminal act to circumvent
encryption to gain access to copyrighted material.

The effect is that the public is not allowed to access the work in any
way other than what the publisher says.  This differs from current law
in that current law gives the public "fair dealing" rights (called "fair
use" in the US).  Fair dealing is unauthorised but lawful use of an
authors work.  A person does not need permission from the author if they
want to quote a non-substantial portion of a work, parody the work, make
a backup of the work, etc.

The EUCD doesn't remove fair dealing from our law books, but if a work
is encrypted, the public cannot access it to excercise it's rights.  The
public can only access the work using authorised software, the
software's encryption blocks our ability to make use of our rights, and
the law blocks us from circumventing the encryption.

This also has the effect that it will be illegal to write a Free
Software package that accesses an encrypted work.

The public also loses it's "first sale" rights.  After the first sale of
a work, the purchaser can resell it, lend it to a friend, give it to a
second hand shop etc.  But if encryption is used to tie a work to one
individual, it would be illegal to excercise these rights.

The draft of Irelands implementation will be available for public
comment "in a few weeks".  We should start working heavily on it then.

Until then, you can find out more about this by listening to the talks
by Robin Gross, and Martin Keegan here:

And more info can be found on www.ukcdr.org and www.ipjustice.org

In the plenary stage, a Ms. Teresa Hackett was working on this
directive, she'll be at the December 11th fsfe-ie meeting so we can
share thoughts then.  Also Ben North has written some good emails to the
man in charge of the Irish interpretation.  Hopefully he'll be at the
next meeting too.

I think that's all of the most useful info I have.

Ciaran O'Riordan - http://www.compsoc.com/~coriordan/
"My main contribution to the debate on the EUCD was to get the acronym
 wrong, of course theirs no U in European Copyright Directive"
 -Martin Keegan UKCDR

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