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.

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  1. identicon
    Michael "TheZorch" Haney, 21 Mar 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.

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