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US copyright law under fire as challenge brought

Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 22 July 2016

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The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act has recently come under fire as digital rights group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation have put forward an action deeming parts of the law as unconstitutional.

The DMCA seeks to penalise anyone that tries to bypass software that prevents the copying of protected work.

However, the basis of the digital rights group’s argument is that this requirement is in breach of the right to freedom of expression by preventing people from doing what they wish with their purchased content.

The group is now taking this argument and putting a case against the US Government.

The section under question of the Act is Section 1201 which makes it illegal to circumvent "access controls" known as digital rights management (DRM) - a provision designed to stop people doing things such as copying films from a DVD and sharing them on the internet. This provision also spreads wider and prevents owners of DVD players from converting them to play different countries DVDs as well as preventing any tampering with the device to solve technical issues.

Speaking of the reasons for submitting the case, EFF said "The law imposes a legal cloud over our rights to tinker with or repair the devices we own, to convert videos so that they can play on multiple platforms, remix a video, or conduct independent security research that would reveal dangerous security flaws in our computers, cars, and medical devices."

This case is in its early stages so a solution is not round the corner but will be one to follow.

If you'd like to know more about this article please send an email to Ellis Sweetenham quoting the article title and any questions you might have, alternatively call the office number on 02380 235 979 or send an enquiry through our contact form.

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