Newman, Jon O. EFF: Appellate Decision in Universal v. Reimerdes. Electronic Frontier Foundation. 22 November 2006. <http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/MPAA_DVD_cases/?f=20011128_ny_appeal_decision.html>.
This famous court case involved the publication of the "DeCSS" decryption program on the website 2600.com. "DeCSS" was designed to break through the CSS encryption on DVDs. The action of posting this program challenged the Digital Millenium Copyright Act which bans any measure of breaking through digital encryption, or any publication or distribution of any such measure. Eight film studios, including Universal, brought a suit against the operators of 2600.com, seeking to have "DeCSS" and any links to other sites containing it removed from 2600.com for violations of the DMCA.
The appeal challenged the constitutionality of the DMCA, claiming that it restricts free speech, and called for a narrow construction of its terms. They also claimed that "is rooted in and required by both the Copyright Clause and the First Amendment," and that the DMCA restricts this. However, the appeals court found no reasoning for these claims, and upheld an earlier injunction by a lower court requiring the removal of the "DeCSS" program and any links to it.
This case is extremely important because it establishes that arguments regarding fair use and free speech are almost no match for the terms of the DMCA. Were it not for the DMCA, I think it would definitely be easy to argue for my video project as a fair use; however, cases like this clearly state that this is no defense. The court states that there is no constitutional requirement for a fair use standard, and that such claims cannot supersede violations of anticircumvention laws.
Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF: Digital Video Restrictions. Electronic Frontier Foundation. 22 November 2006. <http://www.eff.org/IP/digitalvideo/>.
As could be expected from an article written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this article was firmly opposed to DRM and DMCA restrictions. It gives a general overview of the ways in which digital video technologies are encrytped, and accuses Hollywood of using "scrambling, down-rezzing, and a host of other restrictions" for purposes that have nothing to do with their originally stated intent, the prevention of piracy. Most of the article is occupied by a listing of the ways in which DRM is used on a different digital video technologies, from DVDs to cable TV; each of these descriptions also lists "Why It's Bad" and the ways in which the EFF is planning to fight the restrictions. At the bottom of the web page, there is even a listing of ways in which Hollywood is attempting to expand restrictions on video technologies, from to filling in the "analog hole" to blocking the creation of unrestricted video outputs; each of these newer techniques also has a listing of the ways that the EFF is fighting against it.
This sort of information will definitely be very important to my project, as the project itself relys on avoiding DRM to use clips from DVDs. Although it is, at the moment, rather easy (albeit illegal) for anyone with certain technical knowledge to bypass the CSS encryption on a DVD, expanding control over these technologies (as Hollywood seeks to do) could definitely make it nearly impossible in the future. This could have many consequences for the creation of appropriation art pieces; I think it would be interesting to judge how a project such as the one that I am working could be created if Hollywood does get its way.
Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF: Unintended Consequences: Seven Years Under the DMCA. Electronic Frontier Foundation. 28 November 2006. .
This article tracks the continued influence of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, specifically the "anti-circumvention" provisions of Section 1201, throughout its first seven years in effect. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the DMCA has not been used as a method of blocking piracy and devices used to perpetrate it, as Congress intended it; instead, the DMCA has become a tool for big businesses to eliminate potential competition and a blockage to fair use, creativity and technological innovations. Because the DMCA "chills free expression and scientific research... jeopardizes fair use... impedes competition and innovation... [and] interferes with computer intrusion laws", the EFF argues that circumvention must be permissible. The article also contains an exhaustive list of court cases in which the DMCA has been a key factor.
Full knowledge of the restrictions of the DMCA and a general sense of the ways in which legislation has surrounded it is absolutely vital for the creation of my project; the essential goal of my project is to make a challenge to the DMCA and the restrictions that it has placed on artists, specifically in terms of digital video.
United States Copyright Office. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998: U.S. Copyright Office Summary. United States Copyright Office. 28 November 2006. <http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf>.
This is a summary of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, created by the Copyright Office. It renders the more technical language and organization of the law itself into a much more straightforward form. It definitely says something about the polarizing nature of the DMCA that the only article which I have come across without a very strong, clear viewpoint of the subject is a pure summary; as could be expected, the Copyright Office is attempting to maintain an objective viewpoint, to whatever degree possible.
The DMCA was created as a way in which copyright law could be adapted to the questions raised by digital technologies. The most controversial section of the DMCA added a Chapter 12 to Title 17 of the United States Code; this section contains the much-talked-about "anticircumvention provisions", criminalizing any attempt to break through digital copy protection (CSS encryption on DVDs, etc.). Another section of law removes any liability for online copyright violations from online service providers as long as they adhere to certain broad guidelines. There is also the possibility of application for exemptions from the DMCA for non-infringing uses which require circumvention of encryption.
My project requires a detailed knowledge of the provisions of the DMCA itself; I not only plan to quote directly from the DMCA in my project, but also to use clips appropriated from DVDs to create the project. This summary of the law is one of the most simple and concise descriptions of its provisions, without much color in the form of personal opinions.