What If DRM Fails?: Seeking Patronage in the iWasteland and the Virtual O

49 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2009

See all articles by Jon Garon

Jon Garon

Shepard Broad College of Law

Date Written: January 29, 2009


Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act provided sweeping protection for technological measures or virtual locks on digital content to protect the entertainment industries-including music, films, games, and consumer electronics. Manufacturers use digital rights management (DRM) authorized under the law to lock down all software embedded in products, movies on DVDs, and audio files sold on iTunes and other Internet sites. DRM unfairly extends copyright and that legal protection is unnecessary to the robust development of new creative works Critics of the DMCA have charged that the law has extended well past its anti-piracy role to undermine fair use, threaten free speech, and thwart product interoperability.

Embedded in the debate are philosophical assumptions about the role of copyright to incentivize authors, musicians, artists, and other creators, as well as the role of law, technology, and social norms to enforce the customs of copyright protection. The article explains the arenas where the DMCA has benefited and hindered the broader cause of copyright and reviews the implications of copyright in the absence of technological measures for enforcement to see if there is any incentive left in the copyright regime.

Keywords: DRM, digital rights management, DMCA, virtual worlds, copyright, trademark, collective bargaining, film, motion pictures, First Amendment, publicity, content, viral distribution, intellectual property, computer, software, fair use, avatar, advertising, commercial speech, free speech

JEL Classification: J50, L10, L63, L82, L86, O30, 031, 034, C80

Suggested Citation

Garon, Jon M., What If DRM Fails?: Seeking Patronage in the iWasteland and the Virtual O (January 29, 2009). Michigan State Law Review, Vol. 2008, No. 1, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1334948 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1334948

Jon M. Garon (Contact Author)

Shepard Broad College of Law ( email )

3301 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
United States

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