Does The DMCA Still Matter?

from the you-better-believe-it dept

Kevin Donovan writes in to point to law professor Tim Armstrong wondering if the DMCA is still relevant at all, now that so many content providers are dumping DRM. He also notes that we're seeing fewer DMCA-related cases. Kevin supplies his own excellent response talking about the legacy of the DMCA, including the anti-circumvention clause, noting that it's still holding people hostage. For example, he points out that everyone who bought an HD DVD player (picking the losing side in the battle) now would be breaking the law if they merely wanted to move the HD DVD content they legally purchased over to a more usable format. He also points to the importance of the DMCA's safe harbor provisions, which protect service providers from copyright infringement by their users. Both of these are good points. Also, I find Armstrong's first point, about fewer DMCA cases, unconvincing. All it really means is that many of the larger points related to how the law should be interpreted have been decided by the courts. That doesn't change the chilling effects that those rulings have left behind. The law itself is still very, very relevant -- mostly for unfortunate reasons.

Filed Under: copyright, dmca, relevancy


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  1. identicon
    DanC, 6 Mar 2008 @ 2:04pm

    Re:

    By the same token, it also allows people like Prince and Uri Geller to demand non-infringing content to be pulled from websites. The review process for DMCA takedown notices is practically non-existant, because nobody wants to deal with possible lawsuits. In practice, the alleged offenders are often guilty until proven innocent.

    I don't doubt that it the DMCA has a few positive effects. The problem is that the negatives far outweigh the positives. Take, for instance, the ebook DRM schemes that are being used to eliminate the rights of users to resell their legally purchased products.

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