"reverse engineering" entries

Anti-circumvention rules limit reverse engineering

An overview of requested exceptions for the 2014-15 triennial review of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Editor’s note: this article originally published in the July issue of Communications of the ACM (CACM); it is cross-published here with permission.

Matthew_Walker_knot-slackComputer security researchers and hobbyists who want to tinker with the software in their cars are among those who will find out by the end of 2015 whether the U.S. Copyright Office has issued exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anti-circumvention rules. Exemptions would enable these actors to engage in reverse engineering that might bypass technical measures that protect access to copyrighted software or content. It is much to be hoped for that the Office will exempt all uses that pose no threat of copyright infringement, which is all that the anti-circumvention rules were supposed to be about. Unfortunately, the rules were drafted very broadly. Hence, the need to seek exemptions.

This column, written in March and originally published in the July edition of Communications of the ACM, explores examples of DMCA exemption requests submitted for consideration. Read more…

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