Term Paper: New Copyright Laws for School Use on Software Programs

Pages: 3 (1044 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Programming  ·  Buy This Paper

Software Copyright - Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed into law the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act." Sometimes called DMCA, it is also known as PL105-304. This was a significant addition and support for copyright law for several reasons. It clarified some complicated issues for users and offered international protection for owners of software copyrights.

Part of DMCA included a requirement that the law be re-authorized every three years. This requirement reflects the fact that technology is changing at a rapid place. Owners of copyrights for software will need new protections to protect them from new challenges, and software users will benefit from having important issues clarified. For example, the 1998 authorization explicitly states that people may make backup copies of software to facilitate computer maintenance (MSCU).

The most recent re-authorization of DMCA is called "TEACH," for "Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization." This re-authorization addressed specific new issues, including transmissions of performances, which relates to distance online learning, and the use of copyrighted information in educational displays (NCSU).

One example from DMCA illustrates the need for a law constructed to respond to the rapid nature of technological changes. Previous copyright laws did not address the issue of people who devise ways to circumvent protections software manufacturers might put on their software to prevent copying. DMCA specifically prohibits bypassing such programming to make unauthorized copies of digital material, including software.

Pirating," or obtaining licensed software without paying for it, has been a major concern for software manufacturers. The provisions in DMCA were followed by the "Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999," HR 3456 (ARL). This law increased fines for pirating software.

TEACH, which was passed in November of 2002, contains recommendations made by the United States Copyright Office, and specifically addresses complications regarding fair use stemming from the growth of distance learning, or taking classes over the Internet without physically attending the university doing the instruction.

While it would be easy to see these laws as putting restrictions on software users, some experts feel that TEACH broadens their choices for online education. However, it does also clarify use limitations. In the long run, most educational institutions want to work within the bounds of the law. The clearer the law is, the more certain they can be that their usage is within legal use. One requirement in TEACH clarifies the need to use copyright notices. Under TEACH, schools must credit not only contributors to information but the software as well. So, for instance, if an online history course uses information compiled from a variety of books and other publications, they must cite those sources. But in addition, they must cite the program used to present the information. If they use PowerPoint, they must acknowledge the use of that program (ARL).

These requirements are in addition to laws and regulations previously on place. The laws are intended to give software publishers the same protections text publishers have. Just as it is illegal to photocopy textbooks to avoid buying published copies, schools cannot copy software for use on multiple computers unless they have purchased a multiple-use license. Then,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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New Copyright Laws for School Use on Software Programs.  (2005, June 9).  Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/new-copyright-laws-school-use-software/8811534

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"New Copyright Laws for School Use on Software Programs."  Essaytown.com.  June 9, 2005.  Accessed November 13, 2019.
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