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16/11/2018 03:01:32  

Jason Koebler writes: "SleepyHead" is a free, open-source, and definitely not FDA-approved piece of software for sleep apnea patients that is the product of thousands of hours of hacking and development by a lone Australian developer named Mark Watkins, who has helped thousands of sleep apnea patients take back control of their treatment from overburdened and underinvested doctors. The software gives patients access to the sleep data that is already being generated by their CPAP machines but generally remains inaccessible, hidden by DRM and proprietary data formats that can only be read by authorized users (doctors) on proprietary pieces of software that patients often can't buy or download. SleepyHead and community-run forums like CPAPtalk.com and ApneaBoard.com have allowed patients to circumvent medical device manufacturers, who would prefer that the software not exist at all. Medical device manufacturers fought in 2015 to prevent an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to legalize hacking by patients who wanted to access their own data, but an exemption was granted, legalizing SleepyHead and software like it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

13/11/2018 21:00:52  

thegarbz writes: Denuvo, the darling of the DRM industry was once considered by publishers to be the final solution to piracy. Slashdot has documented the slow decline of Denuvo from stories in 2014, and 2016 where publishers were praising Denuvo's success at mitigating piracy for weeks, to its slow decline last year where games were being cracked within "hours" of release. The popular wisdom of publishers in the past considered DRM worth while as it thwarts piracy during the critical sales spike when games are first released. Last week saw Hitman 2, the latest Denuvo protected game get cracked in a short time. The kicker, the game isn't officially released until this Thursday. Publishers are now eroding the potential sale day advantage of DRM through the latest practice of offering games for early release in an attempt to secure an ever larger number of pre-orders for popular titles. This leads to the obvious question: Does DRM make financial sense to include in titles if they risk being cracked before release date? Conversely, does releasing games early to selected customers make financial sense if it results in the DRM being cracked before release?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

30/10/2018 03:58:20  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Friday, the Librarian of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office renewed several key exemptions (and added a few new ones) to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This go round, they've extended some essential exemptions ensuring that computer security researchers won't be treated like nefarious criminals for their contributions to society. As part of an effort to keep the DMCA timely, Congress included a so-called "safety valve" dubbed the Section 1201 triennial review process that, every three years, mandates that activists and concerned citizens beg the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to craft explicit exemptions from the law to ensure routine behavior won't be criminalized. The exemptions still have some caveats. Specifically, the Copyright Office ruling only applies to "use exemptions," not "tools exemptions" -- meaning security researchers still can't release things like pen-testing tools that bypass DRM, or even publish technical papers exploring how to bypass bootloaders or other Trusted Platform Modules to test the security of the systems behind them. But other modest changes to the rules were incredibly helpful, notes Blake Reid, Associate Clinical Professor at Colorado Law. Specifically, the new exemption removes a "device limitation" from previous exemptions that potentially limited researchers to investigating software only on "consumer" devices; hindering their ability to investigate security vulnerabilities in things like the cryptographic hardware used in banking applications, networking equipment, and industrial control systems. The new exemption also modified the "controlled environment limitation" from the previous exemption, which was often read to imply that researchers had to conduct their work in a formal laboratory, potentially hindering research into things like integrated building systems like internet-connected HVAC systems.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

28/10/2018 12:59:13  

Selling toolsets is a no-no, distributing them for free a gray area

Analysis This week the US Copyright Office ruled it's OK for Americans to break anti-piracy protections in a bunch of home and personal devices, and vehicles, in the course of fixing or tinkering with said equipment.…

26/10/2018 02:03:10  

Landmark victory for right-to-fix movement

The US Copyright Office has ruled that, in certain circumstances, folks can legally break a manufacturer's anti-piracy mechanisms – aka digital rights management (DRM) – if they want to repair their own gear.…

25/10/2018 20:57:38  

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The Librarian of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office just proposed new rules that will give consumers and independent repair experts wide latitude to legally hack embedded software on their devices in order to repair or maintain them. This exemption to copyright law will apply to smartphones, tractors, cars, smart home appliances, and many other devices. The move is a landmark win for the "right to repair" movement; essentially, the federal government has ruled that consumers and repair professionals have the right to legally hack the firmware of "lawfully acquired" devices for the "maintenance" and "repair" of that device. Previously, it was legal to hack tractor firmware for the purposes of repair; it is now legal to hack many consumer electronics. Specifically, it allows breaking digital rights management (DRM) and embedded software locks for "the maintenance of a device or system in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications" or for "the repair of a device or system to a state of working in accordance with its original specifications." New copyright rules are released once every three years by the U.S. Copyright Office and are officially put into place by the Librarian of Congress. These are considered "exemptions" to section 1201 of U.S. copyright law, and makes DRM circumvention legal in certain specific cases. The new repair exemption is broad, applies to a wide variety of devices (an exemption in 2015 applied only to tractors and farm equipment, for example), and makes clear that the federal government believes you should be legally allowed to fix the things you own.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

17/10/2018 23:56:38  

OpenSourceAllTheWay writes: There are many fantastic open-source tools out there for everything from scanning documents to making interactive music to creating 3D assets for games. Many of these tools have an Achilles heel though -- while the code quality is great and the tool is fully functional, the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) are typically significantly inferior to what you get in competing commercial tools. In an nutshell, with open source, the code is great, the tool is free, there is no DRM/activation/telemetry bullshit involved in using the tool, but you very often get a weak UI/UX with the tool that -- unfortunately -- ultimately makes the tool far less of a joy to use daily than should be the case. A prime example would be the FOSS 3D tool Blender, which is great technically, but ultimately flops on its face because of a poorly designed UI that is a decade behind commercial 3D software. So here is the question: should open-source developer teams for larger FOSS projects include a professional UI/UX designer who does the UI for the project? There are many FOSS tools that would greatly benefit from a UI re-designed by a professional UI/UX designer.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

16/10/2018 13:56:26  

Sony announced Monday that it's using blockchain technology for digital rights management (DRM), "starting with written educational materials under the Sony Global Education arm of the business," reports Engadget. "This new blockchain system is built on Sony's pre-existing DRM tools, which keep track of the distribution of copyrighted materials, but will have advantages that come with blockchain's inherent security." From the report: Because of the nature of blockchain, which tracks digital transactions in records that are particularly difficult to forge or otherwise tamper with, its application as a DRM tool makes sense and may also help creators keep tabs on their content. Currently, it's up to creators themselves (or the companies they create for) to monitor their contents' rights management. Sony's system could take over the heavy lifting of DRM. The way blockchain works allows Sony to track its content from creation through sharing. This means that users of the blockchain DRM tool will be able to see -- and verify -- who created a piece of work and when. Sony Global Education is the current focus of the DRM tool, but going forward, the company hints that the rest of its media -- including entertainment like music, movies, and virtual reality content -- may be protected the same way.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.