Anticircumvention and Anti-Anticircumvention
66 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2006 Last revised: 3 Feb 2021
In today's debate on digital rights management systems, there is a considerable divide between the rights holders, their investors and representatives on the one hand and academics, consumer advocates, and civil libertarians on the other. These two groups often talk past each other, concocting their own doomsday scenarios while arguing for laws and policies that vindicate their positions. Unfortunately, neither side has sufficient empirical evidence to either support its position or disprove its rivals'. As the digital economy grows, the debate intensifies, and the divide between the two sides widens. Today, there has emerged an urgent need to find the common ground on this very divisive issue.
Published as part of the Inaugural Summit on Intellectual Property and Digital Media, this article begins by examining the positions taken by the proponents and critics of DRM systems and related laws. It then focuses on anticircumvention laws, highlighting their harms at both the domestic and international levels. Contending that an unbalanced international anticircumvention regime is more harmful than its domestic counterpart, this article calls for countries, in particular less developed countries, to be more cautious about the ratification and subsequent implementation of the WIPO Internet Treaties. This article concludes with four observations which provide insight into the development of the next generation of DRM systems and the supporting legal regime.
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