The DMCA, Database Protection, and Right to Repair: The Long Tail of Public Interest Activism in the First Digital Copyright Decade
Information & Culture, 56 (1). (2021) DOI: 10.7560/IC56103.
54 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020
Date Written: November 30, 2020
Abstract: The Digital Future Coalition (1996-2002) was an unprecedented public interest coalition on Internet and copyright policy with much farther-ranging effects than has been recognized previously. Uniting commercial and noncommercial stakeholders to push back against intellectual property maximalism on the nascent Internet, it altered both treaty and legislative language, entered a trope—“balance”—into national discourse on copyright policy, blocked U.S. copyright protection for databases, enhanced popular engagement with fair use, and set the stage for the “Right to Repair” movement. This historical research was accomplished primarily by interviewing representatives of the Digital Future Coalition (DFC) and opposing groups, as well as one ex-official, and by consulting a hitherto untapped, private archive of documents relevant to the prehistory and 1996-2002 history of the DFC.
Keywords: copyright policy, Internet policy, coalitions, lobbying, Internet history
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