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Keep Looking: The Answer to the Machine is Elsewhere

Computers and Law, Vol. 19, No. 6, pp. 32-35, 2009

9 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2009 Last revised: 11 Jul 2009

Andrew A. Adams

Meiji University

Ian Brown

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: January 18, 2009


It is over a decade since the signing of the World Intellectual Property Organization's "Internet treaties". These treaties' "anti-circumvention" rules ban the creation, distribution or use of tools that bypass Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) even for otherwise legal purposes. However, while these legal changes have not stopped the widespread unauthorized sharing of copyright works, they have impeded computer security research, retarded innovation in technology and commerce, and blocked groups such as visually impaired users from accessing locked-up material. Given the failure of TPMs to stop large-scale infringement, right holders have more recently been lobbying for requirements to be imposed upon Internet Service Providers to monitor customers' communications to detect and prevent copyright infringement. Unfortunately such requirements would be likely to have even less impact upon levels of infringement, representing a massively disproportionate invasion of users' privacy. This article examines the misconceptions that lie behind these hybrid techno-legal copyright enforcement systems, and suggests that innovation in business models is much more likely to effectively protect the interests of creators than technological enforcement mandated via copyright law.

Keywords: DRM, WIPO, copyright, TPM

JEL Classification: O34, K42

Suggested Citation

Adams, Andrew A. and Brown, Ian, Keep Looking: The Answer to the Machine is Elsewhere (January 18, 2009). Computers and Law, Vol. 19, No. 6, pp. 32-35, 2009. Available at SSRN:

Andrew Adams

Meiji University ( email )



Ian Brown (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford, OX1 3JS
United Kingdom


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