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A Legal Deep Dive on Mexico’s Disastrous New Copyright Law (eff.org)
106 points by DiabloD3 49 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments



Sometimes I feel like it's only a matter of time laws in this area take an unfortunate turn for the worst in many other countries (US obviously being one of the biggest). Every time we fight tooth-and-claw to get a terrible act from passing, a new one pops up a few months later.


It's because we're fighting the symptoms, not the disease. Behind each of these proposed law reforms are the same private actors that try to make their business models legally protected, to use the might of the state to force people - both would-be competitors and regular citizens - to play by incumbent rules.

Beyond protesting every single one of these bullshit copyright "reforms", we need to start hacking closer to the root of the problem. That includes limiting the ability of corporate entities to dictate - or even propose - policies, and - in my personal opinion - burning down the whole concept of "intellectual property" and building it back up, in a form that serves the betterment of society instead of just the rent seekers.


   It's because we're fighting the symptoms, not the disease.
First you state this, then you state this:

   Behind each of these proposed law reforms are the same private actors that try to make their business models legally protected
The disease are politicians willing to create laws that do not serve the public. If they didn't exist, private actors would have no leg to stand on.

That's the disease. NOT the private actors.


> The disease are politicians willing to create laws that do not serve the public. If they didn't exist, private actors would have no leg to stand on. That's the disease. NOT the private actors.

I think you're still describing the symptom. These politicians are also "actors", part of a system. It's not that there are too many bad politicians and not enough good ones.

It's the socio-political system which is designed so that companies and people who own large amounts of money - capitalists if you will - have much more influence on the political process than most people, individually and even combined.

However, when we generalize to this level - it becomes exceedingly difficult to attack the root cause rather than the symptoms.


Many laws in Mexico are not enforced. I'd be very surprised if these copyright laws were.

It's extremely common to find street vendors selling pirated movies, software, etc, with absolute impunity. I'm not referring to guys with a backpack selling DVDs or USBs in the Mexico City metro, but entire street blocks full of permanent markets.

If you're ever in Mexico City go to the MEAVE market a couple of minutes from the Latino Tower (also called "la plaza de la tecnología"). It's a huge labyrinthian cyberpunk market of pirated, software, hardware, second hand devices, phone repairs, etc.


This is a rare instance where violations can be monitored and punished automatically, and the punishment has very personal consequences, like losing your internet access. I hope our government fumbles this, as it has fumbled anything actually important.


The problem will be selective enforcement, and this will give the authorities a wider spectrum of tools to silence whoever they want.

Sure, legal enforcement might be very low, but imagine expressing an opinion that goes counter to someone powerful, they will now have more alternatives to shut down dissenting voices. This is very worrying.


The unsolved crime rate in Mexico is over 90%.

That means, most crime goes unreported or uninvestigated. That includes the worst types of crime.


What is that number in other countries?


Be aware that a lot of that business is ultimately controlled by the drug cartels.


So are avocados


So what's your point?


While I respect the EFF, they do have their own ideology that makes them not necessarily able to give an objective summary of the law. Is there another account of what the Mexican copyright law does anywhere?


"while I respect the EFF.. I don't respect the EFF. So can somebody give me something useful I can cite which isn't the EFF because <reasons>"

If you want to start saying ideology, then I think you misunderstand the nature of facts based disagreement. It is fine not to agree with the EFF. The problem is your statement implies something they say of fact, not opinion is in dispute. The EFF like any other cause-based body, has "views" and also explores facts.

If there are facts to dispute, lets dispute them.


While I'm entirely unversed to discus what the law actually achieves, I do think it's interesting to note that it's almost entirely to fulfil new obligations placed on them by T-MEC/USMCA (the can-mex-US agreement replacing NAFTA)


I heard someone refer to the USMCA as the U-smak-ah and that's my cannon pronunciation now.


I wonder how (M)exico ended up ahead of (CA)nada in that initialism, given the current US administration's open contempt for its southern neighbor. Perhaps someone on the taak force pointed out that, by the opposite ordering the resulting name, USCAM, would have been a little too on the nose.


The USCAM ?

You forget the current administration’s contempt for every democratic ally / trade partner


It seems to be called something different up here in Canada: CUSMA


I rather like CAMUS :)


As just one example of the EFF's many nonsensical ideology-driven arguments, the EFF claims that the DCMA is an "unconstitutional" law because it enshrines the right of an IP holder to utilize digital copy protection mechanisms...Ignoring that copyright law is one of the few areas of law that the U.S. constitution specifically empowers Congress to legislate (Art I, sec 8 cl 8).

It's silly stuff like this that keeps the EFF on the fringes of tech law instead of being at the forefront. (It's also disconcerting that they claim credit for legal outcomes that were achieved by others.)


This is a totally unfair representation of the EFF's arguments, which apply specifically to Section 1201 of the DMCA (the "anti-circumvention" section).

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/07/section-1201-dmca-cann...


In a just society, a creator would be forced to choose between self-enforcement of copyright through DRM, or judicial enforcement through conventional means. Not both.

With DRM, the party on one side of the copyright bargain retains all of the spoils, for all time, at the other side's expense. That's all well and good, but the copyright holder shouldn't subsequently be able to use the law to enforce their unlimited terms.


In a just society, a creator wouldn't have to make that decision at all.

It's truly fucked up that privileged people feel like they can decide how other people should earn their living just so that they can avoid spending a few bucks.

With DRM, the party on one side of the copyright bargain retains all of the spoils, for all time, at the other side's expense.

This is not true. It is only illegal to crack DRM of copyright-protected works. Once a work falls out of copyright, it's fully legal to crack any DRM. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1201


This is not true. It is only illegal to crack DRM of copyright-protected works. Once a work falls out of copyright, it's fully legal to crack any DRM.

Sure, it's legal, but to the extent it's not already impossible for consumers to take advantage of that provision, it will be soon enough. There is no law against deploying cryptographically-sound DRM that would require the resources of a Kardashev Type III civilization to crack.

And that's the problem. If you rely on such measures, you should at least be required to deposit an unprotected copy of the work in escrow for open release when the copyright term expires.

Additionally, the law casually conflates access to a work with the ability to copy it. Now that everything is moving to the cloud, DRM can block both, potentially forever. That's a one-sided bargain if there ever was one. Talk about "privilege!" The use of DRM on copyrighted works amounts to taking from the public domain without compensation. It should be prohibited by law, not protected by it.


> This is not true. It is only illegal to crack DRM of copyright-protected works. Once a work falls out of copyright, it's fully legal to crack any DRM.

There's a huge grey area there for DRM schemes that are used on expired works, but also on currently copyrighted works. You would need to be _very_ sure that the DRM scheme is only used on works where the copyright has expired. It's an important distinction; otherwise you could simply create a version of "Happy Birthday" with the latest and greatest DRM, then proceed to crack it and come out with a legal way to crack that DRM on any work.

> It's truly fucked up that privileged people feel like they can decide how other people should earn their living just so that they can avoid spending a few bucks.

That's not the only reason, although for some it is the primary reason. DRM can also make legally acquired software worthless (i.e. if they require key servers, but they shut down the key servers). DRM can also tie you to a particular device, like Amazon's ebooks. Doesn't it seem kind of fucked up that I can buy a thing, but I can only use it at the pleasure of the seller? Nope, you can't put that Wonderbread in this toaster. This toaster only takes GE branded GeneralToast bread; violations will be prosecuted under the DMCA.

There are more general arguments against the theory of copyright in general, but you've likely seen them and I don't have anything grand to add to them.


> Ignoring that copyright law is one of the few areas of law that the U.S. constitution specifically empowers Congress to legislate (Art I, sec 8 cl 8).

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

Does the DMCA require that DRM systems "fail open" once the work is no longer covered by copyright?

I suppose that someone who tries to break a DRM system to access a work no longer covered by copyright might be able to convince a jury of their innocent intent. Imagine, though, someone selling a machine for copying DVDs but with a big warning on it saying "Only use this on copy-restricted DVDs if they contain works that are no longer covered by copyright". They'd better have a good lawyer to argue that constitutional case.


Does the DMCA require that DRM systems "fail open" once the work is no longer covered by copyright?

Irrelevant. Once the work is no longer protected by copyright, the DMCA no longer applies to make cracking any DRM locking up the work illegal. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/1201


> (2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof, that— ...

> (B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title;

So you'd need to convince the court that the DRM-cracking device that you sell ("offer to the public") has more than "limited commercially significant purpose" despite being intended and marketed for use only on out-of-copyright works.

The vast majority of DRM-encumbered media works probably have over 80 years of future copyright term applying to them, so a consumer would die before they ever need to crack the DRM and enjoy their access to the then-public domain works. On the other hand, works are entering the public domain every year, and some of these will be available in formats that are DRM-encumbered, so it seems unreasonable for Congress to have passed a law which effectively prevents people from selling devices that allow copyright to expire in practice.


Authoritarian copyright maximalists like yourself are the fringes of society and are an enemy to a free society. People just want to enjoy the content they purchase with out having layers up on layers of DRM and other broken non-sense blocking that enjoyment at every turn and spying on their every action

>> the EFF claims that the DCMA is an "unconstitutional" law because it enshrines the right of an IP holder to utilize digital copy protection mechanisms ... .Ignoring that copyright law is one of the few areas of law that the U.S. constitution specifically empowers Congress to legislate (Art I, sec 8 cl 8).

They are not ignoring that at all, while Congress was given the power and authority to enact limited copyright laws to promote the useful sciences, that authority does not extend to violations of Bill of Rights, or other provisions in the constitution or other Amendments

For example using the copyright law as a justification Congress could not pass a law saying general warrants could be issued for an entire apartment building to look for copyright infringement, as that would be a violation of the 4th amendment.

The EFF is making that claim the some sections of the DMCA violate the Bill of Rights, namely the 1st amendment




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