Government to hear comments on DMCA clause
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has to be one of the most universally reviled pieces of legislation, at least among computer enthusiasts. You see, there's a specific clause in the act that makes it illegal to circumvent copyright protection, regardless of whether what you're doing falls under "fair use" principles. Sure it's a great idea to load up your notebook with DivX-encoded copies of DVDs in your personal collection to avoid having to sit through a horrid in-flight movie, but ripping that copyright-protected DVD is technically illegal, even for personal use.
If you're ready to start fuming, good. The government is actually prepared to listen. Objections to the DMCA clause prohibiting the circumvention of copyright controls will be accepted between November 19th and December 18th. The only catch is that your objections have to be more than just theoretical; you have to provide concrete examples of problems that the clause is causing today.
The purpose of this rulemaking proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention.
It's too bad The Copyright Office doesn't read TR; I'm sure the comments on this one will be filled with plenty of real world instances where copyright protection at least interferes with fair use, and perhaps instances where it causes even greater problems.