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Re: S. 1284 To Amend (C) Act

Tom Bell writes:
> [S. 1284 would]:  1) make[] transmission of copies a 
> type of publication (and thus potentially a means of infringing a 
> copyright); and 2) prohibit[] the importation, manufacture, or 
> distribution of any device the primary purpose of which is to 
> deactivate any technological protections that prevent or inhibit the 
> violation of copyrights.

M. F. (Pat) Sprague writes:
# What occurs to me is that PGP could be considered a "device" to obscure 
# contents of data therby preventing the determination of a copyright 
# violation.

Encryption (as opposed to decryption) doesn't defeat any mechanisms that 
stop someone from violating a copyright. It can make the _detection_ 
harder, but not the _commission_. So I don't think that should be a concern.
(As usual, IANAL.)

Building upon Tom Bell's and cjs' observations, I suppose it could be argued
that encryption can be employed as a means of copyright protection. Hence
some decryption programs might be outlawed as devices intended to
"deactivate" copyright-protecting technology. 

I can't think of any c'punks projects so far that try to pierce security 
schemes meant to shield materials from copyright violations. Since many 
cypherpunks aren't inclined to preserve copyrights, they lack a motive for
ensuring the integrity of copyright protection methods. Cypherpunks launch
attempts to crack security systems in order ultimately to improve them, not 
for the sake of breaking them. I expect the alt.2600 crowd would be more
directly affected by S. 1284.

As a matter of principle, though, I don't think we should be amicable to a
bill like S. 1284. It's a bit disturbing to see that it's cosponsored by
Sens. Patrick Leahy & Russ Feingold, who led the Senate opposition to the
Indecent Act. I find it hard to imagine that the bill will encounter any
significant legislative obstacles.

-Futplex <[email protected]>