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Since 1998, breaking most types of digital locks, often called Digital Rights Management (DRM), is against the law. Even well-lawyered companies that tried to plead fair use, as RealPlayer did in 2008, have been crushed. What chance does a regular Joe have?
But if you have a legal use for copyrighted content, there is an “out.” Every three years, the Copyright Office accepts petitions on what activities should get an “exemption” under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The sixth tri-annual rulemaking is now upon us, and the deadline is this Monday, November 3.
“It’s not a heavy life to file a petition,” said Sherwin Siy, VP of legal affairs at Public Knowledge, an advocacy group that’s long been active on copyright issues. “Five pages, max, short and sweet.”
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