Magazine article Information Today

[C] Still Seeking Proper Balance

Magazine article Information Today

[C] Still Seeking Proper Balance

Article excerpt

Late last summer, the U.S. Copyright Office finally released its 2009 rulings that specified which classes of works will be exempt (for the next 3 years) from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) restrictions on circumventing copyright protection devices and systems. I was as unimpressed by the rulings as I was by healthcare reform.

On the latter, I really hoped for regulations that would prevent my insurance company from hassling me every time I go for a medical procedure, get my routine blood work done, or pick up my prescriptions at the pharmacy. Alas, all I found was more insurance companies.

On the former, I hoped for a determination that copies I pay for are mine to do with as I please. But I didn't get anything, unless I happen to be a film major, in which case, I can legally crack the DRM on a DVD to lift a brief video clip for use in a noncommercial critical review for the next 3 years. (But that is already covered by DMCA's fair use provisions.)

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) apparently would like to have seen some stronger changes in the DMCA too. Perhaps because it was tired of suing individual music enthusiasts for copyright infringement, RIAA recently put the heat on information service providers (ISPs), those vendors who enjoy a particularly high level of protection against charges of copyright infringement under the DMCA statute.

In its most recent push, RIAA joined other associations in issuing a joint statement to Google and Verizon encouraging these giant internet service providers to crack down on pirated content, even though DMCA as written does not require them to do so.

The White House even joined in during recent months, issuing its 2010 Joint (agency) Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement at the start of the summer. The document leads off with President Barack Obama saying, "[W]e're going to aggressively protect our intellectual property. Our single greatest asset is the innovation and the ingenuity and creativity of the American People."

But the following two facets of this talk about American creativity have impressed me the most with regard to intellectual property developments over the last 2 months:

* A group of media companies, including Warner Bros. …

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