Sunday, June 4, 2006

Is it fun to stay at the D-M-C-A?

I apologize for the bad disco reference for this topic. :)

The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 was enacted to update the copyright Law in response to the advancement of technology. This is a law in the United States. (In Europe, the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) was passed in 2001, and the law is similar to the DMCA.)

If you are in the United States, and if you are involved in software development or if you are a webmaster, you need to be aware of the DMCA. For the webmaster, if you create content for your web site, it is automatically copyrighted. In the same vein, you may be in violation of the DMCA if you host content that is copyrighted, such as programs and MP3s. As a software developer, you may have to implement Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, which is code that prevents the media (such as software) to be copied. In the same vein, you may have to be more alert about how you get your code assistance. For example, if you reverse-engineer software, even if it's free, to get an idea of how an action works, you are in violation of the DMCA.

There are supporters and detractors of the DMCA. Supporters applaud the act because it prevents piracy of digital media (such as software and music) by imposing strict punishments on those who violate the act. Detractors complain that the act is impeding innovative development and free speech.

For more information about the act, as well as arguments for and against the act, read the following:

* - Re-printed with permission from Ms. Elizabeth Pruszko

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