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Circumvention by itself definitely shouldn't be illegal, and it's probably unconstitutional to make building and researching circumvention mechanisms illegal. But I don't buy Step 2.

> EFF is representing plaintiff Andrew “bunnie” Huang, a prominent computer scientist and inventor, and his company Alphamax LLC, where he is developing devices for editing digital video streams. Those products would enable people to make innovative uses of their paid video content, such as captioning a presidential debate with a running Twitter comment field or enabling remixes of high-definition video. But using or offering this technology could run afoul of Section 1201.

It definitely should be legal to build those products. Maybe it should be legal to distribute that captioned video as fair use. But why should Twitter profit from a user captioning a video CNN created?

That's the part I have trouble with here. Fair use is fine and good, but there is a large universe of very profitable companies that don't make content of their own, but profit from other peoples' content. Of course they have a huge interest in weakening copyright protections under the guise of promoting fair use.

Um, if I am a content consumer that has legitimate access to content streams from two different sources, why am I not allowed to multiplex those streams in a way that is useful to me?

This is not about Twitter, or CNN, but the users ability to consume content that they have legitimate access to in the way that they choose.

Replace twitter in this example with the ability to feed an audio stream into a speech recognition and translation service to translate audio streams on the fly and suddenly no one can argue the value to the consumer, but both cases are legitimate uses to different users.

Another example of a simple consumer service that could take advantage of this and already exists: RiffTrax. Right now they have to use the "the customer has to use two different players, figure out the audio settings, and get the timings right themselves" method.

Their problem has nothing to do with the DMCA, it's just plain 'ol copyright law like it's existed for decades.

The point you're missing is that the ability to dynamically remux Blu-Ray contents is legally blocked by the DMCA, but if it wasn't there could be, for example, software that injects extra commentary tracks into the processing of a disc you have.

Which is why I said circumventing copy protection shouldn't be illegal. You should be able to make that video and use it for your own purposes. My problem is with Step 2 of the article's hypothetical: instead of feeding the video into a speech-to-text machine for your own use, you put it on Twitter where Twitter makes a bunch of money off something that was mostly CNN's work.

But it does not say "put it on Twitter" anywhere. It says mix with a Twitter feed. You're reading more into it.

I don't think you understood what his product does, it's a FPGA to defeat HDCP in realtime and then adds various overlays to the picture, e.g. a live twitter feed in the right corner.

This trend of making things illegal before any harm is done is insidious.

Imagine if someone has their Blu-ray player playing on a TV. They design a system that flashes physical flashcards in front of the TV with a twitter feed. That shouldn't be illegal, right?

Now, what is the difference between that and overlaying a digital twitter feed? You are legally allowed to view the content. Why shouldn't you be able to consume it in any way you deem fit? If you copy or distribute it, that should be (and is) a crime, but until you have done that, in my opinion you have done nothing wrong.

Corporations have successfully lobbied to erode the whole basis of our legal system by taking away the presumption of innocence at every turn.

I have a little trouble understanding your point, is it that he suggested Twitter as a captioning/commentary outlet? I have to think that was just an example, but also that Twitter's position as a commercial entity does touch on wider issues.

I don't think Bunnie is looking to develop products that redistribute video.

If you've seen his previous NeTV project[1] he's looking to inject video overlays into the HDCP stream and let you do things like he described in his letter. His method of getting into the HDCP stream[2] via a MITM attack is probably what's running afoul of the government.

[1] https://www.adafruit.com/products/609

[2] http://www.bunniestudios.com/blog/?p=2117

...and if he wants to offer that product he can license the stream and not hijack another company's product, right? If not, why not? Details please.

It's not hijacking this stream, it's allowing the legitimate user of the stream to modify it with an overlay while viewing it, at home for example.

While it's not something I agree with in principle, you do know that doing such a thing outside of the specific Four-Factor Fair Use test is an instance of Copyright Infringement? I'm not happy with the way the law is written, but I don't think this avenue is altruistic in the least.

The real problem, of course, is that the Internet today consists almost exclusively of private companies profiting from other people's content. Twitter doesn't pay its users, it makes money off their tweets AND by having them look at ads (yes, this is work). Similarly with Facebook, or with any review aggregator (Yelp, Amazon, Google+), monetizing the free labor of others.

The DMCA protects certain forms of property very jealously, but other forms (e.g. a review) aren't even recognized as property, and the idea of users being appropriately compensated (as we'd expect each nickel to be accounted for a song owned by EMI) is practically absurd. (Note that I do not want the world where we monetize everything)

At the end of the day, which forms of digital property we create and enforce are going to be what determines who can amass wealth - the existing regime was obviously set in place to benefit corporations, billionaires, not joe user.

Some people seem to be downvoting you because they disagree with your view point.

I'm not sure I agree with you but your views are valid and a positive contribution to this thread. Just want to call out that I'm a bit disappointed with the rest of the community for targeting you.

That's very common here. I'll usually have it in waves: I post on internets state, some criticism, sysadmins take a lunch break and my post is voted up, then front end guys go out for a coffee and that's reverted, when startup founders start midnight hacking it's flagged etc. :) this is annoying, though I do understand that the comments that one disagree seem more likely to be spammish to them, and that this instinct is hard to overcome.

Twitter exists as a platform that allows politicians, entertainers, businesses and more communicate more quickly and cheaply with people interested in them than ever before. The profit a user gets out of Twitter depends on what is put into it.

What you're describing as profit is a diffuse social value, public discourse, not a narrowly-defined piece of property that can be monetized and sold (views/impressions/clicks).

I would like to suggest out that the latter is a heavily-defended form of property (belonging to the platform, not the user who does the work of viewing/clicking) that is monetized into the billions, while the former does not directly, probably just because it cannot be defined by terms of contract, and would be exercised on behalf of users, a diffuse unorganized source of power, and not the corporation, a narrow, organized source of power with specific intent.

We might despise users for not having their shit together, and watch happily while large corporations cart off billions and build giant systems of surveillance to further probe us, but this sort of 'vae victis' attitude is I think why 2016 is the debacle that it is.

Twitter isn't profiting off their users, or at all for that matter.

Twitter has a market cap of $13 billion mostly because of content produced by its users. The only possible way it can make money is by showing ads to users (getting them to do free labor).

The joke was that Twitter isn't profitable.

What does profit have to do with market cap.?

It is really strange to me to see this comment downvoted without anyone giving a justification.

I didn't down vote you because I don't agree with anonymously down voting people when I disagree with a comment like a sneaky coward, but maybe I can shine a little light on a possible disagreement.

Twitter is made up of it's shareholders and workers. The workers have been receiving a salary(profit essentially). Twitter shareholders make money when the market cap goes up(profit essentially). It's likely a semantics discussion about what "profit" specifically means to each person more than anything.

Um, that's a semantics discussion, I guess, but one with a clearly right and wrong answer.

It's likely a semantics discussion about what "profit" specifically means to each person

Fortunately, profit isn't defined so subjectively when talking about a corporation.

It can also make some money by selling data.

I fail to see how your quoted text has anything to do with twitter making a buck. The target here is the end user being able to do more with their paid content, including overlaying other content. Substitute a wikipedia entry as the example if twitter is causing a hangup. There are already limits on fair use when profit is involved... this is more about letting users use content in ways that are not prescribed by the big content producers, and being able to develop the devices to do so without breaking the law.

Invalidating 1201 wouldn't get rid of all copyright law. Distributing a such a video would remain a copyright violation regardless of 1201.

If I'm reading the OP correctly, the video isn't being distributed. Just an alternative media stream with some form of captioning that could paired up with the video at the user end.

Why should CNN profit from captioning their video with Twitter users' commentary? It goes both ways.

Why should CNN profit from words they didn't create?

> But why should Twitter profit from a user captioning a video CNN created?

It appears that you are saying you can create something that incorporates fair use of a protected work, but you can't disseminate it, except maybe by some non-profit internet samizdat. That makes fair use a nullity.

Twitter isn't profiting from a work CNN created. They are, indirectly, profiting from user-created content, some of which is based on fair use, by creating a communications medium.

That was the notion that I was operating under as well, as a content creator, and got torn to shreds so I backed out of this thread mostly.

I went ahead and wrote an article that might be of interest to you, and seeing as you're an astute and recognized authority, I'd appreciate criticism as well.


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