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August 2022

Copyright statutes that regulate technology: A comparative analysis of the Audio Home Recording Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Journal/Book: Wash Law Rev. 2000; 75: Washington Law Review 1100 NE Campus Parkway 410 Condon Hall, Seattle, WA 98105, USA. Univ Washington School Of Law. 611-641.

Abstract: Over the past two decades, as the presence of digital technology has become more and more ubiquitous, its tremendous capabilities of reproduction and distribution have created difficult issues for copyright law. Recently, Congress has addressed some of these issues by taking the nontraditional approach of directly regulating the manufacture, development, and distribution of technology. In 1992, Congress enacted the Audio Home Recording Act, requiring that all digital audio recording devices possess a serial copy management system to limit the copying of digital music recordings. Six years later, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, making it a crime to manufacture or distribute technologies for the purpose of circumventing technological measures taken by copyright owners to protect their copyrights. This Comment examines copyright regulation of technology by analyzing the relative merits of these two statutes vis-a-vis the broader goals of copyright law. It concludes that copyright statutes can best regulate technology if they designate a specific copyright protection system, require technology manufacturers to incorporate the protection system into their products, and identify a rulemaking body to maintain the statutes' effectiveness.

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