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First off today, Nick Statt at The Verge reports that the U.S. Library of Congress has released its new set of exemptions to the anti-circumvention clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and has added the ability to jailbreak tablets, smart TVs and tablets as well as providing limited ability to circumvent such locks on video games, automobiles and DVDs.
Under the DMCA, it is illegal to break or circumvent digital locks, commonly known as digital rights management or DRM software. However, the U.S. Library of Congress issues exemptions to that rule every three years and greatly expanded on previous rulings this go around allowing jailbreaking of other smart devices and the ability to break DVD encryption for the purpose of taking short clips. It also allows owners to break such systems on automobiles as long as those systems are not related to the entertainment systems.
However, in a bit of a strange twist, the ruling will not take effect until next year. The Library of Congress has chosen to delay the starting date so that various parties can prepare for their effect. In the meantime though, the rulings are largely being hailed as victories for open access but many are decrying the delayed implementation.
Next up today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that the team behind the music streaming software application Aurous have offered to shut down to end a lawsuit by the RIAA but the record labels have indicated that they are not invested, especially after, they claim, Aurous violated a restraining order that was filed against them.
Aurous is a music streaming app similar to Spotify but, instead of pulling from a library of legally licensed music, pulls from various other services, some of which, the RIAA claims, are illegal. According to papers that have been filed Aurous has been granted more time to respond to the claims though a restraining order remains in effect.
However, Aurous has said that it’s willing to shut down if it means ending the lawsuit but the RIAA is pressing on, claiming that Aurous violated the restraining order by releasing its code as an open source project, distributing the application, or at least core components of it. Aurous quickly removed the page, it was still online for about five hours and was promoted heavily on Aurous’ Twitter account.
Finally today, Chris Hoffman at PCWorld reports that Jonathan Riddell, the now-former head of the Kubuntu project, has stepped down from his role following a controversy between him and the Ubuntu Community Council that saw him calling out the group for questionable use of donations and potential copyright violations.
Kubuntu is a build of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution that uses the KDE interface. Though Linux, including Ubuntu, is open source, Ubuntu has a copyright policy that says it has it has control over the compiled form of its distribution. This has been highly criticized by open source advocates, who believe it interferes with the GPL license.
Riddell’s resignation ends a long-simmering battle between him and Ubuntu. Ubuntu and Kubuntu have released a joint statement saying they’ve resolved any tensions with each other and are moving on. Riddell himself, however, will be going on to work with the team at KDE itself.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.