August 15, 2005 | By Derek Slater

Measuring the DMCA Against the Darknet

Don't miss the current blogalogue over at the Picker MobBlog, starring EFF's Fred von Lohmann and his recent paper, "Measuring the DMCA Against the Darknet" [PDF]. Joining Fred to discuss the paper are computer scientist Ed Felten, DRM expert Bill Rosenblatt, copyright scholar Jessica Litman, and many other luminaries.

The paper's chief claim is that the DMCA has completely failed in its stated purpose: preventing widespread infringing redistribution of copyrighted material. In fact, the DMCA will continue to fail, given that the availability of only one unencrypted copy can completely undermine DRM's effectiveness in this regard.

That's not to say the DMCA has had no effects. Rather, it has "constrain[ed] innovation and competition in the technology marketplace," as Fred discussed here last week, and inflicted collateral damage on other public values. In that light, Fred argues:

"If this is the chief benefit of [the DMCA] in the post-Darknet world, it is important that policy-makers discuss the costs and benefits of this approach (I think it lends itself to anti-competitive cartel behavior), rather than continuing to believe that [DRM is] chiefly good for stopping digital infringements by individuals." (hyperlink, mine)

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