Circumventing Access Controls Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Analyzing the SecuROM Debate

By: David Fry

Despite using one of the most sophisticated digital rights management systems currently available, the video game Spore was illegally downloaded approximately 1.7 million times between September and December of 2008, making it the most widely pirated game of 2008 by more than half a million downloads. This iBrief addresses several legal arguments that have been raised against a digital rights management system called “SecuROM,” which is widely used by video game companies like Electronic Arts, the publisher of Spore. First, the iBrief discusses the comparisons that have been drawn between SecuROM and the controversial digital rights management technologies previously employed by Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Second, the iBrief addresses the question of whether highly restrictive implementations of SecuROM may be legally circumvented under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Third, the iBrief discusses the potential for using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s three-year rulemaking procedure to obtain certain exemptions for circumventing systems like SecuROM.

Cite: 2009 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 005

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