[vdr] sc

Gregory Dudek dudek at cim.mcgill.ca
Fri Oct 28 17:24:57 CEST 2005

While I am not a lawyer I happen to be in the middle of a patent  

At least in the jurisdictions I know about, and I think it is the
same everywhere in this regard, using patented methods at home
for personal use is NOT a problem.  You are allowed to use a patented  
technology at
home for your own use as far as I know and thus they are not relevant  
to users of vdr.
It is commercial use that patents deal with.

On the other hand...

Decryption technologies have been protected in different countries
with EXTRA laws precisely because the normal existing laws did not stop
people from using their own data once they paid for it.

As far as I know, the US DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)
  is the only really strong law of this kind that is current (NOW) in  
force.  I
believe it prohibits you from decrypting and decoding any information  
the manufacturer did not want
to to decode, regardless of how easy this is.
I believe the related EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) has not been fully  
approved yet, due to concerns from
some member states.  I might be
wrong though, as I have not heard anything about it for a while.
It is also a very restrictive law based on pressure from WIPO.

This is a complicated law and I do not pretend to be an expert on it,
but I have heard enough
informed opinion to know it is very restrictive and, in my opinion, if  
you take it literally is it is a
severe limit on personal freedom in the interest of corporate profit.
I believe it's limitations  include decoding (i.e. playing) a DVD that  
you may have
purchased yourself on a device that does not have the licensed software
(for example a linux box).  It was recently used in a (US) court case  
to stop a company from enabling
Lexmark printers to use 3rd part ink containers since it involved  
opening the boxes.  I think it is possible that if you modified the
firmware in your computer and/or video card, you are  in violation (if  
you live in the USA).
    Note that while the DMCA is very restrictive, not that many people  
have been taken to court under it,
as far as I know.


More information here:

Popular article (focus on England)

Europe in general (out of date, but good)

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
(long tedious, boring, the official stuff)

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