My take on the new, expanded DMCA exemption for software preservation is that, while still kind of nonsensical and written by someone without a clear understanding of the issues, the removal of the "on-premises" language means that the vagueness now works entirely in practitioners' and researchers' favor and I hope GLAM admins and counsel allow us to interpret it as such


I mean, already the worst thing that could possibly happen if you provided access to legacy software with broken DRM was a takedown notice. then you take it down! *if* that even happens! which it never will!

we're often talking about some of the biggest and richest companies in the world (Microsoft! Apple! Oracle! Adobe!) who already have their hands completely full (and largely fail) to prevent basic-ass piracy of their latest and greatest in-market products. they do not give a shit if you use a found Win98 license from WinWorld, and if they did, they would go after the places actually hosting and distributing that info first

sure, the limitation that "[DRM-circumvented] works be accessible to only one user at a time and for a limited time" makes no goddamn sense when you're talking about software-dependent digital objects and collections. who cares? in many cases, how is someone even going to know you circumvented the DRM? who's going to know that you offered the same copy of Windows XP to two different patrons simultaneously? just do it!

also notable: if I'm reading this correctly, there was literally no objection placed to the expanded exemption for non-video game software. if you are a GLAM admin, manager, or counsel who is still scared of this, you are fighting with no one

(my apologies to all my video game preservation colleagues, who have a much tougher fight of this despite the game/software distinction also being totally unclear)

@The_BFOOL but still waiting for the copyright people to tell me I can email a pre-made VM image with an old Windows on it to support access to the thing I actually want to give out

@The_BFOOL in the bigger picture, I didn't follow this round of rule-making closely, but in 2018 I read all the rounds of comments, and the software industry objection to SPN was pretty weak. Only games and the entertainment industry really pushed back. And the entertainment people just seem to care that their software-based DRM stays out of any exemption. So I'm happy to see the non-game software people have decided to step back.

@andrewjbtw indeed, I almost think that's the bigger win than the adjusted language in the exemption itself. we may never get *clarity* from the Copyright Office on many of our specific workflow questions - but the point is, no one's even fighting these use cases anymore, which makes it extremely unlikely that any of the weird and arbitrary limits in there will even be enforced

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