Protection of DRM in the UK

DRM
(Photo credits: Vagamundos)

Current protection of DRM in EU is achieved through the Information Society Directive. Article 6 of this directive requires member states to provide adequate protection against the circumvention of DRM for protection of copyright and against any activity which is marketed for the purpose of circumvention or one which has no significant commercial purpose or use other than circumventing DRM (Such activities include manufacture and distribution of devices and the provision of services).

Article 6(4) of the directive require states to promote voluntary measures taken by copyright rightholders in order to allow the beneficiaries of a number of copyright exceptions to use these exceptions. Article 6(4) is only restricted to the following exceptions:

  • reprographic copying,
  • copying by libraries, educational establishments or musuems,
  • ephemeral recording made by broadcasting organisation,
  • copying of broadcasts by non-commercial social institutions,
  • copying for illustration for teaching or scientific research,
  • copying for people with a disability, and
  • copying for purpose of public security or for the proper performance or reporting of administrative, parliamentary or judicial proceeding.

This article creates a two step procedure for enabling the beneficiaries of these exceptions:

  1. Member states must promote voluntary measures taken by rightholder to enable the working of the exceptions.
  2. If rightholders fail to enable these beneficiaries to make use of their exceptions within a reasonable time, the member states should take appropriate measures to rectify the situation.

The directive does not define what is meant by “voluntary measures” or “appropriate measures”.

The rule in Article 6(4) does not apply to reproduction for private use. It also doesn’t apply in relation to works supplied online on agreed contractual terms.

In the UK, the provisions of this Directive were implemented into the CDPA 1988 which already contained sections for the circumvention of TPM on computer programs. These older computer program provisions still apply only to computer programs and the new anti-circumvention provisions apply to everything else.

Section 296ZA(1) prohibits doing anything which circumvents effective technological measures knowing, or with reasonable grounds to know, that is he is pursing that objective. The only exception to this section is when a person carries out a circumvention act for the purposes of research into cryptography.

Section 296ZB(1) makes it an offence for someone to (1) manufacture for sale or hire, (2) import other than for personal use, or (3) sell, advertise, possess, distribute, etc, in the course of a business, any device product, or component which is primarily designed, produced, or adapted for the purpose of enabling or facilitating the circumvention of effective technological measures.

Section 296ZB(2) makes it an offence or someone to provide, promote, advertise, or market (a) in the course of a business, or (b) to an extent as to affect prejudicially the copyright owner, a service for the purpose of which is to enable or facilitate the circumvention of effective technological measures.

Section 296ZE states that when DRM prevents a beneficiary of a permitted copyright act from doing that act then that person may issue a complaint notice to the Secretary of State who may order the owner of the copyright work to ensure that the complainant can benefit from the permitted act.

There are no records of any complaints ever made through this procedure to the Secretary of State. Akester suggests that this is due to a number of reasons including the fact that some beneficiaries are not aware of the procedure and that some find it too cumbersome and lengthy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *