Friday, June 25, 2010

Artificial Scarcity - WIPO Copyright Treaty, DMCA, and ACTA

The WIPO Copyright Treaty, DMCA, and ACTA were partly attempts at laws restricting circumvention of DRM and copy-protection technologies.

The WIPO Copyright Treaty

The WIPO Copyright Treaty in 1996 mandated countries to pass laws restricting circumvention of DRM and copy-protection technologies in copyright violations. It said that "Contracting Parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law."

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was United States' implementation of the WIPO Copyright Treaty. Among other parts Title I included a broad anti-circumvention provision that applies regardless of any fair use or other normal copyright exemptions, and has been widely critisized. It also had a specific provision making it illegal to sell VCRs that are not affected by automatic gain control-based copy protection (such as Macrovision) to prevent circumvention of that system.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is an in-progress treaty that was negotiated mostly in secret, with a year of leaks before a draft was officially made public in April 2010. Among other provisions, it goes a step above the WIPO copyright treaties to require countries to structure their anti-circumvention and safe harbor provisions to more closely resemble the DMCA. It similarly has been widely criticized, not only for that but also for the secrecy.

1 comment:

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