Originally published: October 25, 2011
Last updated: October 25, 2011 - 8:35pm
For the fifth time since the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in 1998, the Library of Congress is preparing to grant limited rights to crack digital rights management (DRM) locks on digital content. Not that it matters much; despite an increased willingness at the Library to grant such permission, the actual tools most people need to bypass DRM remain forbidden.
Even if you want to take advantage of your rights under the law, you'll probably break the law to do so. The DMCA made it illegal to bypass most DRM and to "traffic" in the tools to help do so. But to ensure that DRM couldn't be abused too badly, the law also granted the Library of Congress the right to grant exemptions every three years. The Library couldn't make DRM-cracking tools legal, though, and it also couldn't make the exemptions permanent. Every three years they would reset, giving major music labels, movie studios, and even Apple the chance to quash them.
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