Finn courts say: breaking DRM A-OK (for a surprising reason)

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Somewhat hilarious news from Finland: it’s legal to break DVD DRM there because their law only protects “effective” DRM, and “since a Norwegian hacker succeeded in circumventing CSS protection used in DVDs in 1999, end-users have been able to get with ease tens of similar circumventing software from the Internet even free of charge. Some operating systems come with this kind of software pre-installed. […] CSS protection can no longer be held “effective” as defined in law.” If “effective” means it hasn’t been cracked, doesn’t that suggest the DRM becomes unprotected as soon as it is cracked enough? As though vandalism might become legal if you tagged someone’s car thoroughly enough? Or is it simply that the Finns are too sensible to allow the letter of the law to coldcock the spirit? (Disclaimer: I’m a quarter Finn, and I’m devastastingly sensible.) This is not just a Finnish issue, however. “The conclusions of the court can be applied all over Europe since the word ‘effective’ comes directly from the directive. […] A protection measure is no longer effective, when there is widely available end-user software implementing a circumvention method. My understanding is that this is not technology-dependent. The decision can therefore be applied to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as well in the future.” [GT]

Finnish court rules CSS protection used in DVDs “ineffective” [via Boing Boing

Gabrielle Taylor