Sunday, April 11, 2004

WIPO Considering a Ban on Computers (from Felten's freedom-to-tinker.com/)

"...a draft treaty being considered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. It's a truly remarkable document. And I don't mean that in a good way. Here's the most amazing part, from Article 16, Alternative V:

2. In particular, effective legal remedies shall be provided against those who:

(iii) participate in the manufacture, importation, sale, or any other act that makes available a device or system capable of decrypting or helping to decrypt an encrypted program-carrying signal.

Every computer is "capable of decrypting or helping to decrypt" such a signal, so this provision, if adopted, would apparently require signatories to the treaty to ban the importation, sale, or distribution of computers."

Those guys at WIPO just don't get it sometimes... no wonder the Canadian government is taking its time to evaluate the requirements and effects of the WIPO treaties before mucking around with Canada's copyright laws. Taking a quick look south of the border shows just how costly and troublesome draconian laws (the DMCA) based on narrow-minded interpretations of the copyright treaties can be. Thanks to the DMCA in the United States, competition is being stifled, researchers are being silenced, programmers are being jailed and consumers rights are being trampled. And to think that the American Constitution was once a paragon of legal virtue...

LINK: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/archives/000571.html

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