Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Da Dego, 15 Aug 2006.
So does the copyright get reinstated when the file is decrypted and put back together?
Yeah, what exactly is the point in having a bunch of random 0's and 1's if you don't want to decrypt them back into something that is copyrighted at some point?
I would assume, if I've got the right end of the stick, that the reason would be that everyone would become effectively unsueable. People would be transferring uncopyrighted data, people would have uncopyrighted data on their system. The only time it would be copyrighted would be when it was in use, and since the RIAA's primary method of detection is monitoring file transfers, it would make it far, far harder for them to actually catch people. Everyone would know the sharers were breaking the law, it's just it wouldn't actually be against the law, so they could carry on with impunity.
Of course, there isn't really much reason to do this, as the percentage of people caught out of all file sharers is minute, and unimportant.
Intresting news story though, will read the more thourough thing by Cracker Jack later.
I think the point is you can share the meaningless numbers with out legal problems. So if get sue by the riaa and they claim you where sharing their propertiy you say you were sharing random numbers and the receiver turn the random number in to the data that belongs to the RIAA where as you claim you sharing your term paper.
I think brutally murdering all of the RIAA would be a more effective and more satisfying approach. THEN sue thier family members.
That approach would certainly be satisying
Sounds like a load of rubbish to me.
eg "Since the RIAA says it owns copyrights to all digital versions of media its members produce, that makes two copyright owners to the same set of data which is a legal impossibility"
That doesn't make sense - there are often multiple layers of copyright. In a musical recording, for example, copyright is owned by the original composer of the music and the band who performed it. Just because a band reproduce a set of notes written by the composer in a new performance doesn't remove the composer's original coyright. And just because you manipulate a data file with new encryption doesn't remove the copyright in the original encrypted file.
It also won't stop OFF (or whatever they want to call themselves) from getting sued. OFF are going to distribute lots of data files to people which can all be converted back to the original data file RIAA want to protect, right? If they're not, then there's no point in also this farting about! Even if OFF aren't actually directly infringing the copyright (which I think is debatable) there's always "secondary" infringement.
And I quote (from the UK Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988):
24. Secondary infringement: providing means for making infringing copies
(1) Copyright in a work is infringed by a person who, without the licence of the copyright owner –
(b) imports into the United Kingdom,
(c) possesses in the course of a business, or
(d) sells or lets for hire, or offers or exposes for sale or hire,
an article specifically designed or adapted for making copies of that work, knowing or having reason to believe that it is to be used to make infringing copies.
OFF aren't new in thinking they can find loopholes in the law. Simple ones like the one they're proposing were filled long ago.
you could just find one in the street and trip over and claim that because they looked at you, your gaze was diverted and you triped over some missplaced air that they infact caused while walking too fast.
When they take you to court, sue them for making you miss the simpsons, when they shout at you, sue them for hurting your ears, when you are forced to take an ear test, sue them for wasted time as your ears are fine... Then to top it off sue them for breating air that without their pressence might have been breathed by yourself, but because they "stole" your right to that air you could not breath it which is just downright selfish!
nice idea but surely breaking it back into machine code or 1s and 0s would probably be classed as 'reverse engineering' the content (whatever it might be). So they would grab you for that instead ?
There would be no way for the RIAA to actually prove what file you are downloading since they woudlnt have your key to decrypt the file(or part of the file). Effectivly the only way they could catch you is if they knocked down your door and caught you in the act of watching or listening to their copyright files. They wouldnt do that because there is no way of them knowing if you infact bought that song from a shop, and they will never get warrents to raid random houses.
I thought the OFF organisations closing letter to the RIAA was quite amusing.
Actually, G, you bring up very good points. I wrote the story, but I am far from convinced they'll actually make it work. However, I just want to point out a couple flaws in your own theory -
1) the multiple copyrights - Two people cannot own the same right. The RIAA owns the right to distribute the song or copies of the song. But by making the data into random numbers, you are making the song into your own work, which you by law can dispense any way you see fit - they're your random numbers. And if they're not yours, they're nobody's. That is the target loophole, which brings us to -
2) You own the key, which gets released publicly but with no specific intention of what it's for. The program knows what to do with it, but there's actually no way to tell whether the key is anything different than the file (both are the same size). The key could theoretically be the file! And by forcing the files to all be 128KB chunks, someone else's encrypted file could be the key used for the first layer of encryption in your file - so who owns the copyright?
3) Your copyright point - same thing as has been argued countless times in P2P and filesharing. It is not the service or its methods that are illegal, it's the data being transmitted. P2P on its own is not illegal, despite the RIAA's best efforts to make it be.
I guess the best way I can explain the service is a big blender. You take a bunch of data, you take a bunch of keys. you put them all in together. Suddenly one piece of data is part of a key for another person's data and so on and so forth - the whole thing becomes just a jumbled mess, to which the service has ownership of one other random set of numbers - an index of keys to the cyphers, which may or may not also be an actual key to some floating file somewhere as well.
The point is to take all these organized files and reduce them to nothing but chunks of random numbers that require each other to even function. Thus, as Specofdust wisely points out - the file that you realign on the other end may still be illegal, but the data that got to you was not.
This is stupid... Any sensible person can see that this wouldn't stand up in court.
Of course, what it does do is make it very difficult to get you there in the first place.
So if I understand this all then:
For anyone to get caught the RIAA would have to have physical access to your computer which would require them to prove reasonably to a court that they know that you actually have illegal content on your computer. They can't sue you for downloading files with random numbers. Can they?
So is "OFF" just looking to create a way that eliminates the ability of the RIAA to prove reasonable suspicion and hence get access to a persons computer?
It makes a lot of sense. There's NOTHING illegal about it, whether or not it's ethically correct is a moot point, the legality of the issue is, you may be a dirty *******, but they can't proove it. There's nothing illegal in developing the service, as there's no proof that the conception of the product was to violate copyright laws, and the distribution of material makes it impossible to decifer what is what, and there's no way they will know what it is on the other end unless you scream, arms flailing--I GOT U2!!1! You can easily enough claim in court that you didn't know. Since the encryption mucks up the evidence, there's no proof.
It turns it into a case where everyone knows you did it, but they can't proove it. Just like the O.J. Simpson trial.
Not a bad idea, and i'd love to see the RIAA's constitutionally violating method of privacy invading espionage die along with their trump card, the pressure of the almighty dollar.
As an American attorney, I don't know much about UK copyright law, so I hope the following will not be terribly off-topic. That aside, the approach described in the article does absolutely nothing to help avoid liability under US copyright law. In other words, while a very creative theory, it is founded on some fundamentally incorrect notions about the way copyright law works (at least in the US).
Note the following, my emphasis added:
§ 103. Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works
(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.
There are two major results of this section:
First, there is no "two people holding the same copyright" issue here, the basic foundation for the purported legal loophole. US copyright law tells us that what the encrypters create via the "blender" method described here is a derivative work. The encrypters have a copyright in their encryption, but the original CR holder (author) still has the right in the underlying work that has been encrypted, even if it is rendered wholly inscrutable by the encryption process. In other words, the process creates two works and two copyrights held by two different parties that just happen to coexist in the same string of 1's and 0's: the underlying work copyrighted by the author and the results of the encryption copyrighted by the encrypter. There is never any issue of one copyright being owned by two people, and thus no paradox that could result in the loophole supposedly exploited here.
Secondly, even if the above is true, it is soundly arguable that the encrypter never captures any copyrights at all in the derivative work. Because of part (a) above, a derivative work that incorporates some other copyrighted work but that itself is used for illegal purposes (such as illegal file transfers) will never result in the derivative copyrights--in other words, the encrypter likely does not earn the copyrights in her derivative encrypted work that she otherwise would if she uses the encrypted work illegally.
In short, and unless I've completely missed the point on how the method works, the OFF method unquestionably fails because (1) there is no "two users one right" loophole in the first place, and (2) even if there were, it would be obviated by operation of law if the method were used to aid in illegal file sharing.
Again, a neat theory, but a failing one under current US copyright law. Bottom line, and the reason the method fails, the data is still illegal.
Since the file is encrypted isnt the file worthless without the key? Or is there still implied value due to the data that was encrypted?
Some good points yourself, DD!
But there's a couple of buts
But no. 1. Even if two people couple own the same rights (which I'm not sure it true) this is not what's happening. The original file is still retrievable in some way. The fact that OFF are placing another layer of copyright on top of that does not alter the fact that the RIAA still maintain the copyright in the original file.
Going back to my example - If you and your mates get together to do a new recording of an old song, you own the copyright in that recording but still need to ask the original composer for permission. Agreed, the analogy doesn't quite work because rights in authorship are clearly different from rights in performance, but I think the principle of adding another layer to an existing copyright is the same, as opposed to removing an existing copyright.
OK, compare this to the concept of making an album which includes one song which belongs to someone else. The fact you include it as part of a larger whole doesn't stop you from infringing the copyright on the single song. Nevertheless, as the creator of the album, you own the copyright to that collection / compilation of songs (as nicely expressed by our wise US attorney, Emberline)
Perhaps that's not mixed up enough for you. How about if you take a sample from an existing song and use that sample in creating a new song. You've still infringed the copyright in the original song by taking a sample from it, even though you've gone on to create something entirely new and potentially completely unrelated to the original as a result.
Agreed, it's a tricky issue and there are many ways of looking at it which could support OFF's position. And while I'm not expert enough in copyright to respond to all of them directly, none of them quite seem to hold water with me.
So as a few folks have said above, this is not so much "legal file sharing" because as soon as the guy who encrypted the file gives out his decryption key, he's allowing people to make copies of the original. Clearly, if the RIAA could not prove that was going on based on analyzing internet traffic, unless they could intercept actual files and keys and not just see file names floating around.
But here's the deal: The idea this operates on is the "creating new original work" based on the original copyrighted song. This sort of issue is already present elsewhere: if, say, a DJ or a mix-artist mixes two songs in a unique way, then (I think) he can distribute his new work. He's used old art to create new art, and that is acceptable.
So: rather than using complex encryption and decryption algorithms, wouldn't it just be easier to share songs in mixed pairs? IE: perhaps take two stereo mp3's, and mix them into 1 4-channel mp3, in which 1 song plays on the front two speakers, and another song plays on the back two. Then you just need a utility to spread that back out into 2 individual songs. There are countless ways you could mix two songs, or add a sound effect or something to the beginning/end of a song, or in a pattern throughout the song, or just reverse the song so it plays backwards, etc, that would probably qualify as "new art" and be very easily un-modified and look much less suspicious than half the people on the internet downloading random jibberish then sending secret codes.
The kicker is that mixed songs are actually useful before un-mixing, while encrypted jibberish will only have one assumable purpose should the RIAA catch on. Honestly, such a "mix," given that it could actually be played and used for some purpose before separating it back out into the original songs, would probably be easier to justify in a court of law --
When the RIAA drags you to court, would you rather say to the judge:
1) "I was just downloading a mix of a few songs that DJFileshare said he made and was freely distributing"
or would you rather say
2) "Some guy was sharing a bunch of totally random 1's and 0s and I totally loved it. How was I to know it was somebody's song?" ???
correct me if i'm wrong here but this is how I understand it,
1) split a file into many chunks
2) create some data which you claim to hold the copyright
3) encrypt this data using one of the chunks that came from step (1)
4) you may now file share this data as it's holds information copyrighted by you
5) decrypt the data
6) you now have 2 files, your originally copyrighted data, and a chunk from that file. now aren't you suposed to throw that chunk of file away as it's still copyrighted
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