"How to run a country?" (c)

Apparently, the US Constitution is available on Amazon in your choice of friendly DRM schemes - Adobe’s or Microsoft’s. A sample reader review:

You budding nations, you better come up with your OWN way to run a nation. This is a copyrighted document, and we have considerable IP invested in government technology!

Jokes apart, do you see the abuse of rights going on here? They’ve taken a public domain work and put it in a DRM container. Now thanks to this amazing law called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, you would be a criminal (in the USA) if you tried to break the encryption on the DRM scheme. Yes, that’s right! The DMCA doesn’t care for what is inside an encrypted container. It could be your own life history. But if it is encrypted using someone else’s DRM scheme, you can be sued by that someone else for trying to break their scheme even if it was only to read your own life.

There’s more coming from where that came. There’s a new legislation, called the INDUCE Act, doing the rounds. In brief, it will make illegal, the act of inducing copyright theft. It’s meant to target p2p tools but the wording of the law is apparently so broad that almost any digital tool is fair game - CD burners, mp3 players, anything.

The bill’s chief proponent gave a speech introducing the bill - read this for the speech with extensive annotation countering the claims made.

While digging up some news on the INDUCE Act, I came across this comment on Lawrence Lessig’s blog:

I wonder what happens if the idea catches on and moves to other fields than copyright violations.
Manufacturers of guns will be held responsible if someone gets shot. Wars will be the fault of those who produced the weapons.
Fair enough.

I think it would be a sweet thing if this were to become law. You see, tech companies in the US will then be worrying if their new inventions would somehow aid copyright abuse while their counterparts on this side of the world would go ahead full-steam and release their goods and pretty soon, the US lead on technological innovation would be lost. Sweet, very sweet. ;-)

Remember the link I posted sometime ago to Cory Doctorow’s talk on the futility of DRM from a technological perspective? Here’s another nice article by John Gilmore on What’s Wrong with Copy Protection.

Update: Wired chimes in as well.