Circumventing Authority: Loopholes in the DMCA’s Access Controls

By: Adam L. Rucker

In a world where digital pirates freely roam the internet, seemingly plundering at will, the providers of digital content must find a way to protect their valuable assets. Digital fences afford that protection–but not very well. Fortunately (for content owners), 17 U.S.C. §1201, passed as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, was designed to fill the numerous gaps in those fences by forbidding activities designed to circumvent them. In its present state, however, §1201 does not adequately serve that purpose. Substantial flaws in the language of the statute render it virtually powerless to thwart piracy. If §1201 is to fulfill its intended role (without the need for creative judicial interpretation), it must be amended to rectify the discrepancies between Congress’ supposed intent and the language it chose.

Cite: 2009 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 003

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