Marking the Ten Year Anniversary of the DMCA

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which President Clinton signed into law on October 28, 1998.  For background on the DMCA, see our legal guide here and here.  Now that we've had a decade to get to know the DMCA, it's time to reflect on the changes this important law has engendered.

Here is a rundown of some of the more interesting appraisals of the DMCA:

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation is marking the occasion with the release of a 19-page report that focuses on the DMCA's ban on "circumventing" digital rights management (DRM) and other "technological protection measures." The report, entitled Unintended Consequences: Ten Years Under the DMCA, collects reported cases where the DMCA was used not against copyright infringers, but instead against consumers, scientists and legitimate competitors.

  • Wired, which has posted an article entitled 10 Years Later, Misunderstood DMCA is the Law That Saved the Web, opines that the "Web 2.0 explosion in interactive websites" is largely an outgrowth of the DMCA's immunity provisions.  Wired concedes, however, that the DMCA's takedown procedures have "opened the door to many abuses of free expression."

  • David Robinson at Freedom to Tinker will be spending the week discussing the DMCA.  In a post yesterday, he traces the legislative horse trading that resulted in the DMCA as we know it.

  • Public Knowledge, which is also spending the week analyzing the Act, adds its take in a post entitled 10 Years of the DMCA.

If you are aware of any other assessments I've missed, please add them to the comments.


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