In Chapter 5 of Free Culture, Lawrence Lessig lays out anecdotes and archetypes of all manner of piracy. The duplication of copyrighted CDs and DVDs in foreign markets is touched upon, but one of the main salient points is his defense of Peer-to-Peer file sharing networks, the groundbreaking networks and servers which made Section 512 absolutely necessary and the rulings on which still protect YouTube from harm.
One of Lessig’s major talking points is his attribution of the four archetypal uses of P2P networking: stealing music, sampling music before buying, access to abandonware or other copyrighted content that is no longer available by traditional means, and those who search for content that has no copyright or a Creative Commons license and is meant to be shared.
This is a highly utopian view of both P2P networking and the internet, but at the very least interesting to consider. Lessig goes on to discuss drops in CD sales and later Jack Valenti’s ridiculous claims about VCRs as “tapeworms,” just waiting to drive the industry down. If anything, the VCR and file-sharing networks both paved the way for the kind of content generation and also server networks that my final project will use and draw attention to.
This section of US Copyright law outlines violations of copyright-managed systems, such as bypassing digital rights management and producing a copy of a video in another format. This makes it illegal for consumers to bypass encryption that restricts content, for instance, to one device for purposes of moving the same content to another. The law also includes information on the Librarian of Congress’ selection of a class of bypassable works, exemption for educational institutions, and what construes technological violation of copyright encryption.
Section 1201 also states that no outstanding violations of this section will hinder a defendant’s fair use argument.
This section of US Copyright law is particularly salient as in order to create my project, I will be bypassing both DVD encryption codes and any DRM embedded into the music used for the piece.
These are both clear violations of Section 1201. However, were my project ever to come under copyright scrutiny, I would hope to find protection under this violation being carried out within an academic institution, for purposes of parody, and creating a transformative video which falls neatly under fair use exemption.
This is also important because for the vast majority of videos on YouTube that contain copyrighted content owned by major corporations, that content has been captured from a source which implemented digital rights management, and thus the uploaders have infringed upon Section 1201.