Diritto dei Prodotti Digitali | IT Law

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COMUNICAZIONE DIGITALE | Università degli Studi di Milano

Corte di Giustizia UE: Nintendo, console per videogiochi, drm e “mod chips”

Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as meaning that the concept of an ‘effective technological measure’, for the purposes of Article 6(3) of that directive, is capable of covering technological measures comprising, principally, equipping not only the housing system containing the protected work, such as the videogame, with a recognition device in order to protect it against acts not authorised by the holder of any copyright, but also portable equipment or consoles intended to ensure access to those games and their use. It is for the national court to determine whether other measures or measures which are not installed in consoles could cause less interference with the activities of third parties or limitations to those activities, while still providing comparable protection of the rightholder’s rights. Accordingly, it is relevant to take account, inter alia, of the relative costs of different types of technological measures, of technological and practical aspects of their implementation, and of a comparison of the effectiveness of those different types of technological measures as regards the protection of the rightholder’s rights, that effectiveness however not having to be absolute. That court must also examine the purpose of devices, products or components, which are capable of circumventing those technological measures.In that regard, the evidence of use which third parties actually make of them will, in the light of the circumstances at issue, be particularly relevant. The national court may, in particular, examine how often those devices, products or components are in fact used in disregard of copyright and how often they are used for purposes which do not infringe copyright. Read the full judgment  eng | ita

Jailbreaking e le nuove eccezioni al Digital Millenium Copyright Act

On july 26, 2010, the U.S Copyright Office ruled that jailbreaking an iPhone or other mobile device will no longer violate federal copyright law. In response to a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the U.S. Copyright Office explicitly recognized two exemptions (ex. no. 2 and ex. no. 3) to the DMCA to permit jailbreaking in order to allow iPhone owners to use their phones with applications that are not available from Apple’s store, and to unlock their iPhones for use with unapproved carriers. Since the release of the original iPhone on june 29, 2007, users have been trying to gain access and install unauthorized software on them. The first jailbreak, enabling custom ringtones and wallpapers, was released in july 2007, quickly followed by various apps, and the first game on august 4, 2007. When you jailbreak an iPhone, you remove the Apple-imposed restrictions (DRM) that prevent you from loading applications not sold through the iTunes App Store. Unlocking, on the other hand, only removes the restrictions that tie your iPhone to AT&T. So on the same phone, it’s possible to perform just one action or both.

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E-books, DRM, e interoperabilità dei sistemi

Adobe Systems Inc. claimed that the advantage of  its e-book copy protection technology, called Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology (ADEPT), is that consumers can buy e-books for one e-reader and freely transfer them to other such devices, as well as their Apple and Windows computers. While that’s possible with Amazon.com’s Kindle, which uses its own file format and Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme, and with e-books purchased for the iPad from Apple iBook store, it requires more hassle. But users say ADEPT fails to live up to Adobe’s promise of interoperability between e-readers and e-book stores. For instance, e-books bought from Barnes & Noble, for now, work only on the nook e-reader — not other popular e-readers such as the Sony Reader, even though both use Adobe’s DRM. On its Web site, Adobe recently admitted that e-books sold by Barnes & Noble should “initially” not work on other Adobe-compatible e-readers. That’s because Barnes & Noble is using a new, more liberal form of ADEPT that requires users to enter in a password to read the e-book. Available as part of the Adobe Content Server 5 software, this ‘social DRM’ makes it easier for users to loan e-books to close friends and family. The problem appears to be that most of the other e-readers use Adobe’s Content Server 4 software, which doesn’t offer a password option and puts a hard cap of 12 devices for any particular e-book.

DRM e “fair use”: MGE UPS Systems v General Electric Company (Ct. App., 5th C., n. 08-10521)

A federal appeals court has ruled that breaking through a digital security system to access software doesn’t trigger the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (MGE v GE, Court of Appeals, 5th Circ., no. 08-10521). Any other interpretation of the DMCA, declared the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, would permit infringement liability for tapping into a work simply to “view it or to use it within the purview of ‘fair use’ permitted under the Copyright Act. MGE UPS makes UPS power backup devices and software that are protected by a DRM in the form of a hardware dongle. Company technicians use software to calibrate these systems automatically, but the code searches for an external security “dongle” attached to the laptop. No dongle with updated hardware key, no software launch. After the dongles expired, GE bypassed the dongles and continued to use the software. MGE sued, won, and has now lost on GE’s appeal. “Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision… The owner’s technological measure must protect the copyrighted material against an infringement of a right that the Copyright Act protects, not from mere use or viewing” the Court explained.