Looking At How The DMCA Changed The Nature Of Competition

from the not-such-a-good-thing dept

Tim Lee writes in to point out that the folks at the Cato Institute have published his new study about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act: "A lot of DMCA critics have focused on how DRM undermines fair use by narrowing the ways in which users can consume the content they have legally acquired. That's certainly a valid argument, but I tried to focus on the implications of another type of fair use: the fair use right to use reverse engineering to build a competing product. Prior to the enactment of the DMCA, the courts had consistently turned back efforts by incumbents to use copyright law as a way to exclude competitors from their technology platforms. Most famously, IBM was not able to prevent the creation of IBM clones, because a company called Phoenix used "clean room" reverse engineering techniques to develop a compatible BIOS without directly copying any of IBM's copyrighted software. The DMCA throws that principle out the window, because it makes it a crime to "circumvent" a DRM scheme -- that is, access the content without first getting the permission of the DRM creator." Seems like an interesting comparison of competition pre- and post-DMCA.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Michael "TheZorch" Haney, Mar 21st, 2006 @ 1:10pm

    DMCA Gives Too Much Power to Corporations

    The DMCA gives too much power to corporations and stifles not only innovation but also competition. We've seen many examples of how the law has been abused in order to stop competition. Its time Capital Hill takes a look at the Beast they've created and realize it needs to be brought down. If the DMCA is left in place it will only result in consumers loosing more of their rights, big corporations abusing the law to continue killing off competitors, and cause even more harm to our economy than it already has.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Dingo, Mar 21st, 2006 @ 8:41pm


    This just gives MORE of a reason for pirates like me to continue to hack there stupid protection routines! Screw them! Pirate everything you can!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Kai Hintze, Mar 22nd, 2006 @ 9:50am

    Support Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA

    The Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act (DMCRA, HR 1201) tries to put a bit of balance back and allow individuals the right to make personal use of their property. Piracy would still be illegal, but listening to your own music would be allowed again.

    Please write to your congressional representitive supporting HR 1201, either on your own, or using the form letter at https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?JServSessionIdr010=f01b8cz4y2.app2a&cmd=display&page=Us erAction&id=115

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Eric Frost, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 6:00am


    But wouldn't we all be better off if IBM didn't have to contend with clones? I mean look at Apple, they somehow didn't have to do it. http://www.ericfrost.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    deSade, Mar 26th, 2006 @ 7:50pm

    Re: IBM

    Yeah, didn't have to do it, and they've got 2% of the computer market to prove it, lol.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2006 @ 7:52pm

    Correction Re: IBM

    The above should read:

    Yeah, Apple didn't have to do it, and they've got 2% of the computer market to prove it, lol.

    Damn typos!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Eric Frost, Jul 14th, 2007 @ 8:10am

    Apple's IPhone is now Out

    We'll see if they get more than 2% of the iPod market.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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