Interoperability for games is fundamentally flawed reasoning
Posted Aug 24, 2005 21:59 UTC (Wed) by Ross
In reply to: Interoperability for games is fundamentally flawed reasoning
Parent article: On the defense of piracy enablers
The very idea that you consider this "tampering", "interference", and a threat to the "integrity" of the game speaks volumes. I don't see where those concepts are coming from. They certainly aren't in US copyright law.
The interoperability argument comes from a defense to a claim of circumvention. Because copyright carves a chunk out of freedom of speech, and becuase copyright exist for the specific goal of increasing the progress of the arts and sciences, when the exclusive rights interfere with that goal or place an undue burden on freedom of speech they are effectively neutralized. The interests of the public are the ultimate justification for copyright -- not to reward authors or to preserve artistic integrity. Blizzard claims that non of the protections of copyright law (like fair use) come into play with the DMCA. But there is a very specific and clear statement in the DMCA that allows interoperability. Furthermore it says that it isn't intended to mandate implementation of DRM. I do not see how what Blizzard is asking for is not both a restriction of interoperability or a mandate to implement their copy control mechanism in any interoperating work.
Your argument, I guess, is that the defense should not be valid when applied for game client or servers because they are "only" entertainment products. What is special about those which reduces the public's interest? (I see none.) Is entertainment not one of the fastest growing areas of consumer spending? (It is.) Does it not define many aspects of our culture? (Yes, it does.) Are not the vast majority of products protected under the DMCA entertainment products. (They are.)
You seem to think the theoretical "artist's rights" trump the legally real interests of the consumer. And yes, there are other areas of law like anti-trust which intersect, but those would tend to increase the public's right to inter-operate despite the wishes of the copyright holder in order to preserve competition. You see copyight is an inherent grant of monopoly. It makes sense, but you have to give it limits, otherwise the grant can be extended to cover any number of unrelated items... such as independently-created works which interoperate.
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