Technologies to Counter Copyright Infringement

The publishing industry is trying to develop technologies that will prevent copyright being infringed. This is challenging, but (with some qualifications) technically feasible. Outlines of the various passive and active protection technologies are provided in a paper by Roger Clarke and Stephen Nees.[1]

One might ask whether it is appropriate for a national government to impose measures normally used for criminal matters in relation to what has always been a civil wrong. On the other hand, such measures have already been instituted in respect of some forms of copyright breach by at least the U.S. Digital Millennium Act, the DMCA[2] and  now we have the Australian copyright amendment legislation. [3]


[1] Clarke, Roger. File-Discovery and File-Sharing Technologies (aka Peer-to-Peer or P2P):

MP3, Napster and Friends, and Their Impact on E-Publishing of Music, and Other Digital Objects http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/FDST.html Content industries are in the process of developing a variety if such technologies under the generic term ‘Digital Rights Management’, and the music industry association refers to the particular technology that they are trying to invent as the Strategic Digital Music Initiative (SDMI).

These involve attempts to significantly extend the set of rights that are embodied in copyright law. They are also likely to be highly invasive of content consumers’ privacy. Clarke argued in a paper in early 2001 that there was a likelihood of a consumer backlash against the Digital Rights Management movement.

[2] The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf access 12 September 2006

[3] Copyright Amendment (Technological Protection Measures) Bill 2006 and Regulations http://www.ag.gov.au/agd/WWW/agdHome.nsf/Page/RWP04FC63D41045DEA5CA2571DF0021BCA3 access 12 September 2006

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