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
    Kai Hintze, 22 Mar 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

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