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Special Rules for Computer Chips

The Semiconductor Chip Protection Act 1984 (USA) is an extension of the Copyright Act that creates a hybrid between patent and copyright protection. The Act was written because  copyright protection does not extend to programs embodied in integrated circuits.

Software as Intellectual Property

Software and the Law

Software and DMCA

Software Piracy

Limiting Software Piracy

Copy Prevention

DVDs and Region Encoding

DVDs can be region encoded which means that a DVD encoded for region X can only be played on a player designed for region X. The world is divided into regions 1 to 6.

REGION 0 – All regions

REGION 1 -- USA, Canada
REGION 2 -- Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
REGION 3 -- South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia
REGION 4 -- Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Latin America

REGION 5 -- Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
REGION 6 -- China
REGION 7 -- Reserved for special use
REGION 8 -- Recovered for Cruise Ships, Airlines, etc...

You can buy a DVD in the USA that can be played in Canada but not in Mexico. A DVD bought in Japan can be played in England but not Taiwan.

Why have Region Encoding?

Region encoding is intended to prevent a worldwide free market in DVDs. Applying a region code ensures that a DVD is released into a market at a time and at a price and with specific contents determined by the manufacturer.

For example, a DVD may be released in the USA six months after a film. If that film is released six months later in Europe, DVDs from the USA may reach the same market at the same time as the film. Region encoding ensures that this cannot happen.

However, any enthusiast can obtain a multi-region DVD player. Equally, DVD players are so cheap that it is possible to buy a second player just for region 1 DVDs.

A Comment found on the Internet

A frustrated DVD user makes the following comment on alexbarnett.net. I don't expect to see a message on the back of my sandwich cautioning me that:

"You may not eat this product outside of the UK, although the mustard came from the US, so if you are thinking of eating the sandwich there you can eat the mustard, but nothing else. Especially the lettuce. Oh, and you can only eat the mustard 4 times if you are so inclined".

Region Encoding Enhancement

Regional encoding enhancement, RCE,  provides an additional encoding enhancement that ensures disks from Region 1 (The USA and Canada) cannot be played in ‘region-free’ players. RCE demonstrates that region encoding exists only to promote the interests of Hollywood.

Even RCE can often be defeated.

Region Encoding – Comments

Some regard region encoding as illegal at an international level because it violates the rules of free trade. If regional encoding is used to stop a conflict between first-run films and DVDs, why is it that very old films are regionally encoded? If you live in region X and a movie is regionally encoded for region Y ONLY, you cannot view that movie. This could be regarded as censorship.

What’s Possible in the Future?

IP, Plagiarism and Universities

In a university, students may engage in a number of activities that are fall under the heading of academic misconduct.

Collusion – two or more students working together on a piece of work intended to be carried out by a single student.

Copying – taking the work of another person and passing it off as your own.

Plagiarism – using someone else’s work without acknowledging it.

Why do Students Cheat? (From Fintan Culwin)

What is Plagiarism ?

From the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (Australia)

IP, Plagiarism and Universities

The objection universities have to “the use of non-original material” does not normally stem from the usual reasons for protecting IP. The use of non-original material is counter to:

Detecting Pre-used Material Electronically

Problems (for class work)