And the Shirt off Your Back: Universal City Studios, DECSS, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

By Menard, Brian Paul | Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal, Summer 2001 | Go to article overview

And the Shirt off Your Back: Universal City Studios, DECSS, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act


Menard, Brian Paul, Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal


I. INTRODUCTION

Although law principally represents the mediation of broad principles and competing interests, its resolution in practice is often muddied and its consequences unforeseen. The law has, of late, been called upon to mediate between the interests of intellectual property and technology, with commerce deeply entwined. The complex and tense relationship of these interests has given rise to one of the dominant legal and social contests of recent times. And copyright has been on the frontline. The implications of digital technology for the production and distribution of information have become clearer, leading to intensified debate and commentary, the ratification of treaties, and the enactment of laws. In the last two years, details and consequences of the legal mediation between copyright and technology have begun to emerge from the courts, prompting calls for a review of recent copyright legislation and a reassessment of intellectual property in the digital age.

During this time, the Internet, a relatively unknown and undervalued technological and commercial realm just a decade ago, has assumed enormous social and economic significance. In particular, the World Wide Web ("Web") has emerged as an unparalleled digital environment, inextricably and problematically linked with intellectual property and commerce. As a result, much discussion of technology centers on the Internet. Commerce has come to rely heavily on the Web, and intellectual property is so closely tied to it that developments in one reverberate within the other.

Those who need convincing of the extent to which the three have become enmeshed ought simply to recall some of the marquee legal battles of the last two years: U.S. v. Microsoft Corp., (2) A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., (3) Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, (4) Amazon.com, Inc. v. Barnes and Noble.com, Inc., (5) Ebay, Inc. v. Bidder's Edge, Inc., (6) and New York Times Co. v. Tasini. (7) All of these cases are principally about content: Who controls access to it? What may they do with it? Who may they charge for it? How may they use technology protect it? Those still not convinced might consider such concepts as business method patents, peer-to-peer file sharing, and pay-per-use. Although these terms are not the subject of most casual conversations, they have migrated from technology newsgroups and financial news channels to the front pages of the print media and the top of the evening news. These developments underscore the extent to which the Internet has both magnified and intensified the existing tensions between intellectual property and technology.

This article analyzes the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (8) ("DMCA" or "Act"), focusing on its prohibition on the circumvention of technological controls on copyrighted works. The DMCA was envisioned as the legal means for reconciling copyright with the new digital and cyber realities. The very title of the Act suggests the possibility of such reconciliation. There is substantial disagreement, however, as to whether it properly mediates between complex principles and interests, as well as skepticism about the prospects for reconciliation. Because these legal and policy questions are now wending their way through the courts, this article also reviews ongoing litigation under the DMCA, in particular Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes ("Universal City"), (9) the first decision to address access and copy controls. The Internet is both the dominant technological reality of our day and an ideal environment for producing and distributing intellectual property. Thus, the DMCA and cases such as Universal City matter greatly for technology, intellectual property, and commerce. This article concludes, then, by considering the implications of current anti-circumvention law for each of these and by raising additional questions about the law, with the modest goal of better understanding what happens when legally sanctioned circumvention technology meets copyright principles. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

And the Shirt off Your Back: Universal City Studios, DECSS, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.