Specific copyright question relating to free but DPR-protected PDF

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  • EDIT: sorry, the title should read "DRM-protected" :) Hi, this is my first post, please forgive me if I break protocol in any small way. Suppose there were a PDF file with a copyright notice in it as follows: Copyright: Copyright © 2011 ACME Publishers. You may redistribute this file provided that: (1) you must only make such cop- ies available free of charge; (2) you clearly indicate that any parts of this work reproduced into other publications are derived from this source document; and (3) you include the full text of this license in any copies of this work. Otherwise, all rights reserved. Then, suppose someone (the first party) takes this PDF, converts it with a Linux tool to an ePub file, and posts that file on the Internet. Later, they are contacted by the publisher, telling them to remove the file, and calling them nasty names for removing the password encryption from the file, which password encryption the said first party was not aware of existing, it being circumvented by the Linux tool in question. Is the publisher within its rights to demand the removal of the work? Of note is the fact that the publisher requires copies of the work to include the "full text of this license", implying quite clearly that they expect some modification to occur. Any comments would be appreciated in this "hypothetical" problem :)
  • Ignorance of the original protection is not a valid claim--removing any protection is a violation of the DMCA.
    This sounds like it was published under a Creative Commons license. I don't see where you infer the modification claim. The purpose of including the license is so if someone discovers your file and not the original, they know what the restrictions and permissions are.
    Where did the pdf file come from? Was there any licensing involved? Our database licenses usually allow us these same rights, but we are not allowed to post articles on the internet.
    Is the publisher within its rights? Well obviously they believe they are. If you believe otherwise, then it's your choice to rebut the claims or comply.
  • Thanks for the reply :)

    I have to question you on the illegality of removing DRM. There is nothing in the copyright that says copies must retain DRM; the only requirement is that they retain the the copyright notice itself. Further, it was never stated that this example occurred within the USA or EU. Suppose it occurred in a country where there were neither the DMCA or the EUCD?

    The copyright is not specified as CC, so I assume it is not.

    I think you have not clearly understood the argument regarding modification - it is said that the file may be redistributed provided, among other things, that the copyright embedded therein remain intact. Given this is the only requirement for content retention, is it not fair to assume that removing other non-essential parts of the file (e.g. formatting, DRM, unconvertable PDF tables, etc.) may be removed and the result distributed?

    In this example, suppose that the PDF has been posted on a website for "free" distribution. Free as in beer - it's locked to a specific, proprietary, non-unicode format, with copy/paste capabilities disabled.
  • I agree with LWilliamson that it is up to you to decide whether or not to comply with the terms of the license that the publisher attached tothe PDF. They apparently did NOT choose to use a Creative Commons license, which *is* legally defensible. It is possible that the licensing terms in question, as crafted by this particular publisher, are not legally defensible, in which case you might wish to challenge their demands for removing the article.

    The intention of this board is to address copyright questions, presumably those relating to the American copyright system (given we are a project of the American Library Association). The hypotheticals about how digital rights management works in other nations are beyond the scope of this board. Your other questions seem to be related to licensing terms which pre-empt provisions of copyright. I would urge you to direct your questions to a qualified attorney licensed to practice in the US and familiar with contracting as well as non-US copyright.
  • Ok, thanks for the advice, and I apologize for asking outside the scope of this forum.

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