Digital Technology Users' Declaration of Rights
In response to the relentless encroachments we are suffering to our
right to privacy, and right to freely generate, use and share
information, this Declaration of Rights has been written.
This Declaration is put forward as the users' answer to the infamous
'Digital Millennium Copyright Act', signed into law in 1997 by
President Clinton, and enforced in most jurisdictions in which internet
access is available.
With some effort and organisation, governments can be lobbied to
enshrine these rights into law.
Note - this Declaration aims at a level of completeness. One price paid
for this completeness is a level of redundancy and tautology, which the
author hopes will not unduly annoy the reader.
This document is not intended to suggest in any way that users should
be free to evade paying for software which they are using.
However, there are situations where software authors seek to impose
unreasonable restrictions on users' free enjoyment of software and
other digital content, and/or interfere with users' ability to make
reasonable pre-purchase evaluation of digital Content. It is to address
and rectify such situations that this Declaration has been written.
Within this document, I will be using some common words and phrases
with a meaning which may be ambiguous, or may differ from common
interpretation and usage.
This section spells out the exact meaning with which certain words and
terms are used within this document.
Any hardware component which is capable of storing any kind of
information or digital material. This includes, but is not limited to,
hard disks, floppy disks, random access memory, flash memory, read-only
memory, modular memory (eg compact flash cards, 'Secure Digital'
cards), removable media (eg compact disks, digital video disks). This
does not include any information - text, graphics, audio, video,
program codes etc. which are present on such media.
Any information which can be stored within and/or retrieved from
storage media. This includes text, images, audio, program codes and all
Any physical apparatus which contains one or more microprocessors. This
includes personal computers, computer peripherals and other
accessories, video game consoles, and any stereo systems, televisions,
video recorders, DVD players and any other domestic appliances in which
one or more microprocessors are present.
A person who, by virtue of sale, trade or gift, is in lawful possession
of one or more Computer Systems.
1. Storage Media
1.1. Right to Know
* All users have the right to know the entire contents of all storage
media on their systems, and all physical storage media to which they
have the right of possession.
* All users have the right to use, create and freely distribute any
software and other information which may aid them in knowing the
contents of their hard disks, and rendering these contents
1.2. Right to Alter
* All users have the right to change existing content resident on all
storage devices on their own systems, to change the format in which
that content is stored on such storage devices, to change the structure
of such content, to add new content and delete existing content as
* All users have the right to convert any content present on their
storage devices from one format to another as suits their needs.
* All users have the right to delete any Content present on Storage
Devices within their posession where such Content contradicts the
1.3. Right to Backup
* All users have the right to duplicate any and all content present on
storage media within their possession for the purpose of making backup
copies. Users have the right to create these backup copies in the same
form as, or in a different form to, the original content.
2. Content Flow
* All users have the right to be fully aware of all content flowing
within their Computer Systems, into their computer systems from the
Internet, out of their computer systems into the internet, and between
two or more computer systems physically present at one location, eg a
Local Area Network.
* All users have the right to possess, use, create and distribute
software which can make the flow of media intelligible.
* All users have the right to intervene in the operation of software
resident on their computer systems; to prevent certain information
flows, to introduce new information flows, and to alter existing
information flows as desired.
* For example, users have the right to intercept TCP/IP connections
from a piece of software to a software vendor's server machine (or a
third-party marketing company's server machine), and suppress personal
information from being transmitted to that server. Users also have the
right to block such communication from taking place at all, and/or to
modify the software so that this software does not limit its usability
due to the blockage of this information flow.
3. Structure and Configuration of Hardware
* All users have the right to modify all digital and analogue hardware
within their lawful possession. This includes techniques such as:
Adding 'mod-chips' to computer game consoles, Adding, changing and/or
removing any hardware, for the purpose of enjoying full access to a
computer system, Modifying hardware for the purpose of making backup
copies of content accessible.
4. Right to Privacy and Encryption
* All users have the right to possess, use, write and distribute
* All users have the right to apply encryption software to render
unintelligible to others any Content residing on Storage Media within
their Computer Systems, flowing within their Computer Systems, or to or
from other Computer Systems or the Internet.
* All users have the right to modify, disable or delete any software
residing on their Computer Systems which monitors the user's
5. Right to Reverse Engineering
* Users have the freedom to decompile, analyse, and in any way
reverse-engineer any Content residing on Storage Media within their
* Users have the right to combat and defeat any technological measures
present in any software or hardware which seeks to restrict the user's
full freedom of usage. For example, users have the right to use, create
and distribute 'serials numbers', 'cracks', 'patches' etc for the
purpose of learning about programming techniques, also for the purpose
of gaining the ability fo fully evaluate a piece of 'shareware' or
'demoware' in a way which would not be possible with these
technological measures intact.
* Users have the right to convert to any format any content which is
present on Storage Devices in their possession.
6. Right to Free Expression
* Users shall not be restricted from communicating what they understand
to be the truth about any matter. This includes, but is not limited to,
the right to communicate 'benchmarks', security weaknesses, and other
performance and functionality issues of a piece of software or
hardware, or honestly-formed opinions as to the nature or conduct of
any company, person, organisation or government.
7. Right to Inter-Operability
* Users have the right to initiate flow of Content between two or more
pieces of Software and/or Storage Media of their choice. For example,
users shall not be bound by EULA conditions in one piece of software
which demand that this software not be used in conjunction with any
other piece of software.
8. Right to Develop Software
* Users have the right to design and implement software of any kind as
they see fit. For example, users shall not be restricted from writing
software which uses the Microsoft Foundation Classes, and competes with
* Users have the right to create, use and distribute software which
assists them, or any other user, in defending the Rights listed in this
9. Audits and Disclosure
Users shall under no circumstances be required to:
* Disclose to any other party the contents of any Storage Media in
* Surrender possession of any Computer System or Storage Media
* Allow any other party to gain physical access to a user's Computer
System or Storage Media
* Allow any other party to gain remote or network access to a user's
Computer System or Storage Media.
10. Limitation in Scope of End User License Agreements
* Users shall not be bound by any provisions in End User License
Agreements in software or any other Content, or by Provisions within
any other form of legal agreement, which contradict any of the above
provisions in this Declaration of Rights.
This document is CopyLeft (C) October, 2002 by David McNab