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DRMS and anti-circumvention: Tipping the scales of the copyright bargain?

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The debate over the perceived threats posed to our traditional notions of copyright by the Internet has continued for several years now, and shows no sign of slowing down. A potential solution lies in the use of copy-protection mechanisms, technological answers to a so-called technological problem. The use of such technological solutions however, masks the potentially deleterious effects that they may have upon the delicate balance of the copyright bargain. Concern has been focused upon the rights of the copyright holders to protect their work from infringement. However, in this article we shall critically analyse the implications of the specific provisions that underpin the use of digital rights management systems (DRMS) in the US/UK. We shall question the validity of attempting to create and apply such legislation in light of the effect that it may have upon the concept of fair use and underline the importance of considering the nature of the copyright bargain and how the implementation of this family of technologies may have legal and technological repercussions that may irrevocably alter the status of the user in the copyright world without guaranteeing protection for the copyright holder.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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