[LINK] Now there's a turn up for the books...

Ivan Trundle ivan at itrundle.com
Fri Dec 1 22:37:41 AEDT 2006

(sorry about the deliberate pun - el Reg are usually more inventive  
than the headline that they chose, so I improvised):

Internet Archive wins copyright reprieve [Can now store old computer  
games and software]

Published Friday 1st December 2006 10:35 GMT

The Internet Archive project has won an exemption from US copyright  
law, overcoming an obstacle which threatened the entire work of the  
not-for-profit group. It can now host copies of obsolete computer  
games and software without fear of prosecution.

The Library of Congress has published six exemptions to the Digital  
Millennium Copyright Act, which criminalises duplication of material  
copyrighted to someone else. The exemption is from punishment for  
breaking the kinds of copy controls on material which are designed to  
stop unauthorised duplication.

One of the six exemptions is for computer software or games for the  
purposes of preservation, but only if the original machine, format or  
technology involved is obsolete.

The ruling grants exemption to "computer programs and video games  
distributed in formats that have become obsolete and that require the  
original media or hardware as a condition of access, when  
circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or  
archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or  

"A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system  
necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no  
longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the  
commercial marketplace," it says.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit project started in 1996 to  
create a complete record of the increasing amounts of digital  
information being created as the internet developed. It now archives  
20 terabytes of data a month and has two petabytes (two million  
gigabytes) of data stored in it.

The Library of Congress's other exemptions to the DCMA include  
permission for users of mobile phones to circumvent the technology  
which makes the phone only work with one network. Another exemption  
allows the duplication of "dongle protected" software where the  
dongle has been damaged and a replacement is no longer available.

Another exemption allows educational establishments to "break"  
digital rights management (DRM) technology for audiovisual works to  
be used by media studies or film classes, while another exemption  
that allows users to bypass DRM on CDs in order to test and fix DRM  
technology which might damage the user's computer.

"Thanks to the hard work of two great law school students of Peter  
Jaszi of American University, Jieun Kim and Doug Agopsowicz, the  
Internet Archive and other libraries may continue to preserve  
software and video game titles without fear of going to jail," said a  
statement from the Internet Archive.

"This is a happy moment, but on the other hand this exception is so  
limited it leaves the overall draconian nature of the DMCA in  
effect," said the statement. "A total of more than $50,000 of pro- 
bono lawyer time has been spent to just affect this exemption and its  
continuation. We hope that Congress, and other governments, will pass  
more balanced copyright laws to allow at least libraries, archives,  
research and scholarship to flourish without the current dark clouds  
of litigation."

The British Library has been involved in similar lobbying and wants  
copyright law to change so that it can store digital material without  
breaking the law. It has sent its copyright reform manifesto to the  

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

More information about the Link mailing list