shareware/demoware

Dar Scott dsc at swcp.com
Sat Jun 22 14:43:01 CDT 2002


Keying and protecting software may be easier (or harder) in a few 
years in the US.

Senate bill S.2048 (a suspicious looking number) might force 
changes in hardware and operating systems that can be used for 
protecting software.

There is a bill pending (S.2048) that is intended to protect 
copyrighted material in digital form.  The law requires all new 
software and hardware that stores, plays, executes, backs-up, 
copies or transmits that material to comply with 
yet-to-be-determined FCC rules.  The original intent was to control 
activities like copying CDs and DVDs, and transmitting online 
movies.

It has some interesting consequences and expanded applications.  
Files of copyrighted material may use the security protection 
approved by the FCC.  If so, they may not be stored unprotected.  
They may not be stored or transmitted encrypted by some other way.  
Also, you cannot legally encrypt _any_ copyrighted files except by 
the approved method, whether they have the FCC wrapper or not.  
(This does not apply to trade secret files that happen to have 
copyright notices on them, or software or art that has not been 
released to the public.)  The law intends for end users to be able 
to make backups and otherwise enjoy copyrighted material.

All new software, hardware or combination that processes, copies or 
transmits files must check whether each file is marked as 
copyrighted and check for rights.  Some rights will require keys.  
(The FCC will set up a way mark files and show rights.)  I think 
this means a change in computer operating systems and Internet 
clients.

I don't like this bill.  First, it requires me to protect my 
software the government approved way.  Second, as a consumer, I 
don't want road blocks or expenses just because I might want to 
misuse copyrighted material.  Third, it is a great expansion of 
Commerce Clause interpretation of the Constitution that can only 
get worse.

Whatever we come up with for protecting Revolution apps might be 
temporary.

Dar Scott






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