Israel is approaching a historical moment. The overhaul of the copyright act will soon be concluded. The 2005 Bill has reached an advanced stage and will soon replace the now presiding 1911 (!) Copyright Act. The proposed exception for computer program reproduction has been recently subject to some debates and finally, with the blessing of industry representatives, the new proposed Section 24 should allow reproductions (and making derivative work, when applicable);
- by possessors of a lawful copy, to make a backup copy of the software;
- by possessors of a lawful copy, for purposes of maintenance and service;
- for purpose of using the software, including errors correction and adaptation to other software/system;
- security checks, repairs and protection against security flaws;
- acquiring information for developing independent software (interoperability).
This provision was approved by the parliamentary economics committee, which also approved Section 26 of the Bill, allowing transitory digital reproduction of works (RAM, caching), inasmuch as it is necessary to make lawful use or as part of digital communication process. It is interesting to note that the provision speaks of a possessor of a copy (other that an owner). This language appears to cover also third parties, e.g., professional agents providing maintenance and security servicing (compare, Strange Tech v. Custom Hardware)
Overall, this looks very enchanting. It appears that the Israeli lawmakers have learned a few lessons from the 1991 E.U. Software Directive and the US experience. If Section 24 passed in its current version it could provide some important protections to software users. There is one more little thing left to be resolved. Anticircumvention. The Bill does not address this issue at all, although it seems that its final version will have to include a certain anti-circumvention model. We wait impatiently.
By the way, last week the Swiss Ständerat approved a draft for a copyright revision which would allow to crack TPMs for personal use. Does this include circumvention just for personal fun? Not clear…