ARTICLE: Anti-Circumvention Laws and Copyright: A Report from the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2004 The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
The Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts

ARTICLE: Anti-Circumvention Laws and Copyright: A Report from the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts

Summer, 2004

27 Colum. J.L. & Arts 385


June M. Besek*



A. Background
Digital technology and the internet have made it possible to reproduce copyrighted works and disseminate them around the world with ever greater speed and efficiency. For example, the widely available MP3 format, faster communications channels and peer-to-peer file-sharing programs enable users to compress, upload and distribute sound recordings over the internet very quickly; as a result, millions of unauthorized copies of sound recordings are made each day. This is increasingly true of motion pictures as well, as compression techniques become more sophisticated and bandwidth increases. Nor is this phenomenon limited to sound recordings and motion pictures: novels, videogames, television programs, photographs and many other works are copied and disseminated through the internet daily, without authorization from the copyright owners.

One way copyright owners are responding to this phenomenon is by developing technological tools to protect their works. Technological protection measures (TPMs) range from the basic tothe sophisticated and provide varying degrees of protection against unauthorized access and use of the work s. They include such things as password protection, copy protection, encryption, digital "watermarking" and, increasingly, rights management systems incorporating one or more of the foregoing. Many different technological protection methods are already in use, and many others are in development (discussed further in Part V).

However, it is widely recognized that TPMs can be broken quickly by the technologically able; these individuals can then create and distribute tools to those with less technological sophistication, allowing them to circumvent protection measures. Many policy makers believed ...
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