July 14, 2024

Happy Holidays

Barring major unexpected news, we’ll be on hiatus until after the holidays. We appreciate you, our readers, but this is the time of year to spend less time with you and more with our families.

Enjoy the holidays, and we’ll see you in January!


  1. Dear Pr. Felten,

    Thank you for your agreement in principle regarding the DADVSI problem. I have copy-pasted a few short extracts from some links in english.

    Best regards,

    — Stéphane Gourichon, Ph.D.


    Just like the Clinton Administration reports, the Sirinelli report does not envision the future of the authors’ rights system without ever-present exclusive rights and legal protections of technical measures. Its recommendations: 1/ ban all software non implementing schemes tracking and controlling private uses 2/ make liable, both in civil and penal courts, anyone providing means to facilitate unauthorised electronic transmissions of copies of works—complete or partial. It interprets jurisprudence quite radically, seeks no compromise or balance, and is biased towards a handful of big companies. It ignores the facts that culture is not merchandises, the public has rights, and the authors’ rights should not be diverted to hamper progress and innovation.


    An amendment to the proposed DADVSI bill has the aim of making criminal counterfeiting out of publication, distribution and promotion of all software susceptible to being used to open up data protected by author’s right and not integrating a method of controlling and tracking private usage (technical measure). All software permitting downloads is concerned, such as certain instant messaging software (chat) and all server software (P2P, HTTP, FTP, SSH).


    Friday November 18th, 2005, French Department of Culture. SNEP and SCPP have told Free Software authors: “You will be required to change your licenses.” SACEM add: “You shall stop publishing free software,” and warn they are ready “to sue free software authors who will keep on publishing source code” should the “VU/SACEM/BSA/FA Contents Department”[1] bill proposal pass in the Parliament.

    It appears that publishing Free Software giving access to culture is about to become a counterfeiting criminal offence.


    Creating your own compilations from a CD, extracting your favourite piece of music to listen to it on your computer, transfering it on a MP3 player, lending a CD to a friend, reading a DVD with free software or duplicating it to be able to enjoy it at home and in your country house : many common practices, perfectly legal, which the French government plans to forbid in fact.


    France about to get worst copyright law in Europe?

    Some more english links available from http://yro.slashdot.org/search.pl?query=dadvsi

    Thank you for your attention.

    — Stéphane Gourichon, Ph.D.

  2. Anthony Youngman says

    Replacement CDs?

    Read the settlement. That option is ONLY available to users who (a) have XCP CDs, and (b) have a cracked system.

    My CDs (or rather, my wife’s) presumably have MediaMax (I have no way of telling), and having reformatted my system I don’t have Sony’s malware on it.

    So my only option for getting malware-free CDs is to wait until the exchange program is extended to MediaMax, and then to deliberately infect my system. NO THANKS!


  3. Jonathan wrote::

    Hey, no backfilling comments… the settlement discussion is over here 😉

    I will duplicate this post there…


    I will duplicate this post there…

    “Second guessing the decision of EFF proposed settlement is hindsight.”

    No, it is not. If the class is made aware of just how badly the EFF fucked over the consumers it claims to be protecting, then this can go forward.

    In court Sony might be found innocent… but if found culpable then Sony will almost certainly have to recall the millions of Mediamax malware CDs currently in the wild, and would definitely pay far more than the pittance the settlement demands, also they would have much stronger constraints against distributing malware placed upon them…. which is why they want to settle.

    “If they agree why should we beupset?
    It was a suit brought by them, and we are bystanders, right ?”

    No, the EFF claim to be representing consumers and setting the pace for the “Electronic Frontier”… which makes their perennial screwups very much the business of anyone with a PC.

  4. Second guessing the decision of EFF proposed settlement is hindsight.

    If they agree why should we beupset?

    It was a suit bt rought by them, and we are bystanders, right ?

  5. December 29, 2005
    EFF and Sony BMG Reach Settlement over Flawed DRM
    “The proposed settlement will provide significant benefits for consumers who bought the flawed CDs,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “Under the terms, those consumers will get what they thought they were buying–music that will play on their computers without restriction or security risk. EFF is continuing discussions with Sony BMG, however, and believes that there is more they can do to protect music lovers in the future.”

    “Sony agreed to stop production of these flawed and ineffective DRM technologies,” noted EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “We hope that other record labels will learn from Sony’s hard experience and focus more on the carrot of quality music and less on the stick of copy protection.”


  6. Well, it’s all over the news that Sony BMG and New York have a proposed settlement. It covers the XCP and MediaMax discs.

    It’s about time they started cleaning up their mess.

    I don’t live in NY, though. I wonder who is elgible for the settlement. Perhaps when I have some more time I can dig in and find out.

  7. The Texas lawsuit against Sony now covers MediaMaxx “CDs” as well as the crapware F4I “CDs”.

    buh-bye, DRM.

  8. Take a look at http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/drm/sony-style-stores-still-selling-rootkit-cds-144909.php

    Looks like Sony are still selling XCP CD’s in their own stores. That just about sums up the level of incompetence and ineptitude that they have sunk to.

  9. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah.

  10. Ed,

    Be wary of what you’ll find in the way of explanations on the DADVSI law, be it in native English or translated from French. I’ve watched the debates, read the law, read the amendments and I hardly find any condoning of P2P in its wording.

    If you think it may be useful, I can provide translations of the relevant parts of our current Intellectual Property Code, of the DADVSI law that purports to modify it, and of the amendements to this law.


  11. This French proposal looks like it could be a serious problem. Unfortunately I cannot usefully read the original materials in French, as my French is very weak. (I chose to study other languages in school.) I will try to find a way to learn about this proposal so I can comment in January.

  12. I’d be inclined to say that the next episode is right now: proponents of legit private copy and free software must lobby the french Assemblée and govenment (and the press) before jan 17–with sound and sensible arguments of course–because the current project considerably hampers legit personal copying as well as free software.

    For instance, if the law is passed as it is currently drafted (including amendments voted so far), the mere fact that I circumvent CSS to convert a shiny new and deraly paid DVD onto an expendable DVD-R (so that the kids ruin only a copy) will be considered counterfeiting, even though it fully respects the three step process that defines licit personal copying.

    Regarding free software for reading DVDs, it will be de facto rendered illicit just the same way: circumventing technical protection measures would be akin to counterfeiting, even though the goal is to exert the basic acquired right of viewing a genuine original DVD.

    (I won’t comment on the amendment directed at showing how patently licit activities are rendered illegal by the current law project. I do not consider the P2P is patently legal.

  13. Dear Pr Felten,

    On your return from holidays, would you consider commenting the legal storm that has happened this week in France around the dreaded DADVSI, french strengthened version of the EUCD, the latter being like DMCA but worse according to what people say, see e.g. http://eucd.info/ and http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,69901-0.html?tw=wn_tophead_2 ?

    Some amendments (not definitely approved) are seemingly turning that project upside down as you can read on http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/05/12/22/1322228.shtml . Things are generally covered on http://standblog.org/ and http://formats-ouverts.org/ , in french.

    Next episode will start on january, 17, according to http://www.vnunet.fr/actualite/tpepme_-_business/vie_publique/20051222010 .

    The case is complicated because it involves the right of artists, the freedom of making private copies especially when DRM is imposed, danger on Free/Libre Software, especially for programs intended to read DVD like vlc, the business of the music industry which claims that P2P causes loss (contradicted by an academic study http://linuxfr.org/2005/12/21/20095.html ), and even the risk of a too wide and severe law that would e.g. outlaw openoffice because its ability to decrypt a MS Word document may make it a circumvention device…

    As usual, neutral, well-documented and insightful comments from you would be very interesting to a lot of people.

    Thank you for your attention.