Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Law And Unintended Consequences

This weekend is the twentieth anniversary  (china!) of the signing of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).  As for me, I mentally awarded the DMCA its rightful wooden spoon five years ago, on its fifteenth anniversary.

Would you say that "china" is appropriate?  The DMCA is certainly broken.  Of course, it was intended to encourage cooperation between copyright owners and internet service providers to protect copyright and to reduce piracy.  Unfortunately, when the DMCA was written, most people used dial up to access the internet, downloading a file took all afternoon, and using the internet meant that the phone line was tied up for the duration of one person's internet "surfing" time.

Nowadays, it takes less time to make a good cup of tea than it does to scan a book and "share" it with potentially thousands of people.  A generation has grown up expecting that anything they can find online is theirs for the taking, free, covered by their cost in purchasing a computer and internet service (a false perception), and the big tech companies have taught everyone to believe that copyrighted works of all kinds are "content".

There's power in words.

In honor of the DMCA, the Copyright Alliance's Copyright Counsel, Terrica Carrington has penned an important, two-part retrospective article about the lofty aims and mixed success of the DMCA.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry

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