Term Paper: Copyright Infringement &amp the Digital

Pages: 20 (6467 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Law - Legal Issues  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The case against Dmitri Sklyarov is a good example of this kind of infringement even though many feel that the Russian programmer's activities couldn't be categorized as copyright violation. We shall discuss this case later in the paper but for the sake of coherency, it was important to mention it here.

Title 17, Chapter 12, Sec. 1201. Of digital Millenium Copyright Act clearly states that, "No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title."

However some exemptions have been provided which give immunity to certain individuals if found to be tampering with technology. For example the law states that a librarian can alter the code of any copy protection technology if this is being done to determine if a particular work is worthy of being added to the database of the library. It also exempts technology experts from tampering with copy protection code only if they can prove that such a step was taken to facilitate inter-operability of different software. Researchers of encryption technology have also been given immunity under certain pre-determined conditions. For example they are not allowed to benefit in monetary terms from alteration of copy protection technology.

The law is too long and some feel too vague to be followed accurately or comprehended easily but nonetheless it has been termed by the proponents as an effective measure to stop violation of copyrighted material. The law also gives a detailed description of rights of an Internet service provider and the conditions under which he could be charged with circumvention of technology or violation of copyright. It is clearly stated that ISPs would not be charged with criminal violation of DMCA if some restricted materials get transferred to user's computer through automated mechanisms. But it is also mentioned that ISPs should remove such material from their caches as soon as it is notified of violation.

Safe Harbor Provisions

The safe harbor provisions of DMCA aim at providing protection to Internet service providers if they qualify for exemption. This means that no monetary relief can be sought against them if they are found to be eligible for safe harbor. The Internet service providers have been exempted from criminal charges but only under certain given conditions and it would be at the discretion of the Court to decide whether or not a particular ISP was abiding by the law if charges are brought against such a company. The law also makes it mandatory for the ISPs to delete accounts of those users who have been found to be accessing restricted material on the Internet through unfair means.

Casey Lide (1999) writes in her article for CAUSE/EFFECT journal that DMCA has not clearly defined an Internet service provider. She feels that due to a very broad definition that is given in the text of DMCA legislation, it is possible that college and universities providing free Internet access to their students would also fall under the category of an ISP. She writes, "The DMCA Title II definitions of service provider are broad enough to provide liability protection for entities that may not conventionally be considered ISPs (Internet Service Providers). In section 512(k)(1)(B), service provider is defined as "a provider of online services or network access, or the operator of facilities therefor." Most, if not all, higher education institutions probably fall within this definition. To be eligible for any of the limitations, service providers must also (1) adopt a policy of terminating the accounts of repeat infringes, and (2) accommodate and not interfere with "standard technical measures" (defined as standardized measures used by copyright owners to identify or protect copyrighted works)."

If what she is suggesting turns out to be more than a mere tentative assumption than colleges and universities would also be required to block the accounts of repeated violators because failure to adhere to the law might result in legal problems for the educational institutions. The legislation has carefully encompassed various parties and issues in the legislation but many feel that some details provided in this connection are not enough to make the legislation's message clear to the general public. Many are of the view that if this law is not clearly understood by the people, it would not be easy for them to abide by it.

Another important feature that has been incorporated in the law is with regard to devices being used for reproduction of copyrighted content and intellectual property. The law states that any machine being used for making copies of such material must be embedded with certain copy protection codes in order to stop illegal reproduction of pay-per-view material. Apart from pay-per-view, the VCRs manufacturers are required to stop illegal reproduction of programs for which subscription is mandatory. For example certain programs are available only on cable or satellites channels, therefore people can sometimes makes copies of such programs to distribute among their friends who do not enjoy the privilege of subscribed channels. But this type of reproduction also falls under the category of infringement and thus DMCA actively seeks to impose restrictions on it. Recording machine manufacturers are also prohibited from allowing their customers to make copies of pre-recorded content. This can be done if all VCRs are embedded with technology that would control violation of copyright.

LEGAL VIEWS IN FAVOR OF DMCA:

It is important to understand that while there may be several protests against enactment of such a law, still one section of the public feels that DMCA should not be repealed because it offers various benefits to actual authors or creators of copyrighted material. We need to know that while not everyone may stand to benefit from legislation, there are certain groups and industries, which would certainly find the law in their favor. This is because industries such as music recording companies had been witnessing a rapid decrease in their profits when MP3 format was discovered and numerous copies of the various types of music were made illegally available on the Internet. Under such conditions, it was extremely important to stop the influx of illegally produced music on the Internet because recording companies could go quickly out of business if digital copyright laws were not imposed to restrict such activities.

DMCA has thus been considered a very favorable move by the proponents and recording companies are not as worried about their businesses going bankrupt as they were before the Napster episode. Let us understand why supporters of this law view DMCA as an effective measure to control copyright violation in the digital world. This can be better understood if we study the issue from the viewpoint of the recording companies and take into account their fight against illegal use of digital music. The reason we are suggesting this is because digital music is the one thing everyone is familiar with and therefore this is one area through which people can better understand the significance of laws like DMCA.

The invasion of digital technology has revolutionized the way we listen to music. It is believed that this technology was first developed by a teenager with the sole purpose of making music accessible to people around the globe. Before the case of Napster surfaced, it was easier to download songs via the Internet and then enjoy all types of music either on your computer or audio players. With the progress of digitized music also came a revolutionary technology now common known as MP3. MP3 is actually an audio compression file format, which helps, in easy transmission and distribution of music. This technology shrinks the size of the file so that it occupies very little space on the disk. This is the most important factor behind its immense success. A musical file compressed by MP3 technology would occupy 1/12th of the disk space an uncompressed file would occupy.

But while it was a wonderful technology in itself, it was found that several people especially the owner of Napster Inc. was using it for illegal transfer of copyrighted music from one computer to another. Commenting on the popularity of digital technology, Bob Kohn, chairman of digital music download site eMusic.com said, "You want to be able to have some format that is open enough to work not only on your computer but on your PDA, cell phone, and your home stereo player. And you want to be able to go back to your account and download it again if your hard drive crashes."

This is when DMCA and such others laws surfaced to safeguard rights of music creators and other original authors, because whether we like it or not, the fact remains that free music available on the Internet was blatant violation of copyright.

Piracy is a copyright infringement, which has serious repercussions. Not only do the artists not get paid for the music they have composed because of the reproduction of the music, the music… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Copyright Infringement &amp the Digital.  (2002, May 28).  Retrieved July 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/copyright-infringement-digital/4907396

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"Copyright Infringement &amp the Digital."  Essaytown.com.  May 28, 2002.  Accessed July 20, 2019.
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