Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks America about the problems with Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM even for legal reasons, and America gets to answer with requests for exemptions to this rule.
One of EFF’s requests this year is a for an exemption that lets anyone bypass DRM to make fair use of videos; expanding the current exemption that gives that right to film professors and a few other narrow categories to include the whole universe of remixers, mashup artists and fan vidders.
2018 Hugo- and Nebula-nominated science fiction writer Mur Lafferty, author of the smashing Six Wakes, gave us a hand with this by writing The Unicorn Scene, a delicious and smart sf story about what’s at stake here.
Mur’s story joins John Scalzi’s short story about our Right to Repair petition. We’ve got one more of these in the pipeline that I’ll be publishing next week. Thank you, Mur and John, for helping us make America safe for copyright law!
Erica put her hand on Mary’s shoulder as her friend scrolled through Netflix. “Look, the idea is brilliant, it hasn’t been done before, it shows leadership, creativity… what?”
Mary had just literally head-desk’d. She whapped her head a few more times for emphasis.
“That’s not getting anyone anywhere,” Erica said. “What did you find?”
“I can’t break the DRM of any of these movies. We can’t get the clips we need,” Mary said, staring at the error message on her screen.
Mary was a cinephile. No one had an eye for film like she did. When other kids were reading Hunger Games and Divergent, she was reading critical essays by Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert. She’d expound at length on the metaphorical meaning behind the colors in The Godfather movies before her parents even let her watch the films themselves. There was no doubt she was the biggest film nerd her hometown of Asheville had ever seen, but no one had a guaranteed acceptance to the NY Film Institute.
The Unicorn Scene [Mur Lafferty/EFF Deeplinks]