Law professor Rebecca Tushnet recently somewhat jokingly posted the following bit of irony that she found when going to the US Copyright Office for their hearings on DMCA exemptions:
law v. norms, or why anticircumvention law doesn't work
At the Copyright Office, waiting for the hearings to begin. I did not interact with this setup in any way:
Now, this might just be a silly picture, showing how someone at the Copyright Office chose not to obey the "rule" that the door shouldn't be propped open, but Tushnet's "joke" about this showing why anticircumvention law doesn't work, because societal norms trump the law every time, is an important and valuable point. The reason that there is so much infringement isn't because the laws aren't strong enough. It's not because there needs to be more education or greater enforcement. It's that people fundamentally don't believe the laws make sense. Trying to block circumvention doesn't work when the tools make it quite easy to circumvent, and the end result -- propping open the door or being able to do what you want with the content you legally purchased -- just makes too much sense
. If only the folks at the Copyright Office recognized that this applies to a lot more than propping open a door, but to the area of the law that they constantly seek to expand.