Monday, June 05, 2006

APIG Report on DRM Published

The All Party Internet Group inquiry into DRM has now produced a report with a number of sensible recommendations:

"Summary of Recommendations

#65 We recommend that the Government consider granting a much wider-ranging
exemption to the anti-circumvention measures in the CDPA for genuine
academic research.

#86 We recommend that when the advice from the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel has
been received, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport hold a formal
public consultation, not only on the technical details, but also on the general
principles that have been established.

#92 We recommend that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport review the
level of funding for pilot projects that address access to eBooks by those with
visual disabilities; and that action is taken if they are failing to achieve positive

#105 We recommend that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) bring forward
appropriate labelling regulations so that it will become crystal clear to
consumers what they will and will not be able to do with digital content that they

#113 We recommend that the OFT labelling regulations we proposed, in #105 above,
should ensure that the risks are clearly spelled out, at the point of purchase,
whenever consumers could lose access to digital content if systems are
discontinued, or devices fail, or players are replaced by systems from a different

#118 We recommend that OFCOM publish guidance to make it clear that companies
distributing TPM systems in the UK would, if they have features such as those in
Sony-BMG’s MediaMax and XCP systems, run a significant risk of being
prosecuted for criminal actions.

#132 We recommend that the Department of Trade and Industry investigate the
single-market issues that have been raised with us, with a view to addressing the
issue at the European level. We accept the argument that other industries may
soon find their markets distorted by DRM systems and so we recommend rapid
development of the principles by which the single market can continue to
operate effectively.

#135 We recommend that the government do NOT legislate to make DRM systems

#147 We recommend that the Department of Trade and Industry revisit the results of
their review into their moribund “IP Advisory Committee” and reconstitute it as
several more focused forums. One of these should be a “UK Stakeholders
Group” to be chaired by the British Library. It should specifically address the
complex issues surrounding DRM, not just from the point of view of experts on
the technology, but with a wide-ranging membership that includes
representatives of consumers, libraries and the creators of content – as well as
the ‘usual suspects’ from the rights holders and content distribution industries."

The numbers refer to the paragraphs in the report where the recommendations are originally made. The 'CDPA' is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, including its various amendments incorporating EU directives. A thirty page report is never going to be able to cover all the issues with DRM but this is a good start. I believe Cory Doctorow will be writing a book on drm over the next year or so and expect that will become the standard text.

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