Question: Why was the DMCA passed?

Answer: The stated purpose of the DMCA is to ensure the protection of copyright works in the digital world by fortifying the technological blocks on
access and copying of those works within a legal framework. This amendment to title 17 (the Copyright Act) was signed into law on October 28, 1998
as the United States implementation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty adopted by countries around the world
two years earlier. The DMCA implemented these recommendations in a much stricter fashion than required, giving copyright owners broader
protection than was intended in the international treaty.

Question: So what is all the controversy about the DMCA?

Answer: The shift towards the distribution of copyrighted materials in digital form has been accompanied by new methods of protection. Through the
use of "digital locks," technological systems behind which these copyrighted materials are protected, producers and manufacturers are able to
automate fine grained control over who can access, use, and/or copy their works and under what conditions. Producers insist these "digital locks" are
necessary to protect their materials from being pirated or misappropriated. But, these new technological systems, and the DMCA provisions making it
a crime to bypass them, undermine individuals ability to make "fair use" of digital information, and essentially replace the negotiation of the terms of
use for those products with unilateral terms dictated by copyright owners. These self-help technical protection mechanisms are generally not evident
to the purchaser or user until after the sale. In some cases, producers who use these technical locks to enforce limits on access and use of their works
fail to disclose the terms of use to the purchasers or licensees of their products.

The defenses and exemptions to the circumvention prohibition and circumvention device bans included in the law are fatefully narrow. As a result, the
legitimate activities of scientists, software engineers, journalists, and others have been chilled. The DMCA has been used by copyright holders and the
government to prevent the creation of third-party software products, silence computer scientists, and prosecute journalists who provide hypertext
links to software code.

US Code as of: 01/05/99
Sec. 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems
(a) Violations Regarding Circumvention of Technological Measures.
(1)
(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained
in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.
(B) The prohibition contained in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to persons who are users of a copyrighted work which is in a particular class of
works, if such persons are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by virtue of such prohibition in their ability to make
non infringing uses of that particular class of works under this title, as determined under subparagraph (C).
(C) During the 2-year period described in subparagraph (A), and during each succeeding 3-year period, the Librarian of Congress, upon the
recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, who shall consult with the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the
Department of Commerce and report and comment on his or her views in making such recommendation, shall make the determination in a rule making
proceeding on the record for purposes of subparagraph (B) of whether persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be in the
succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by the prohibition under subparagraph (A) in their ability to make non infringing uses under this title of a
particular class of copyrighted works. In conducting such rule making, the Librarian shall examine -
(i) the availability for use of copyrighted works;
(ii) the availability for use of works for nonprofit archival, preservation, and educational purposes;
(iii) the impact that the prohibition on the circumvention of technological measures applied to copyrighted works has on criticism, comment, news
reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research;
(iv) the effect of circumvention of technological measures on the market for or value of copyrighted works; and
(v) such other factors as the Librarian considers appropriate.
(D) The Librarian shall publish any class of copyrighted works for which the Librarian has determined, pursuant to the rule making conducted under
subparagraph (C), that non infringing uses by persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be, adversely affected, and the
prohibition contained in subparagraph (A) shall not apply to such users with respect to such class of works for the ensuing 3-year period.
(E) Neither the exception under subparagraph (B) from the applicability of the prohibition contained in subparagraph (A), nor any determination
made in a rule making conducted under subparagraph (C), may be used as a defense in any action to enforce any provision of this title other than this
paragraph.
(2) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or
part thereof, that -
(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected
under this title;
(B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work
protected under this title; or
(C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing a technological
measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
(3) As used in this subsection -
(A) to ''circumvent a technological measure'' means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass,
remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and
(B) a technological measure ''effectively controls access to a work'' if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of
information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.
(b) Additional Violations. -
(1) No person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or
part thereof, that -
(A) is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right
of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof;
(B) has only limited commercially significant purpose or use other than to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure that effectively
protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof; or
(C) is marketed by that person or another acting in concert with that person with that person's knowledge for use in circumventing protection
afforded by a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof.
(2) As used in this subsection -
(A) to ''circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure'' means avoiding, bypassing, removing, deactivating, or otherwise impairing a
technological measure; and
(B) a technological measure ''effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title'' if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation,
prevents, restricts, or otherwise limits the exercise of a right of a copyright owner under this title.
(c) Other Rights, Etc., Not Affected. -
(1) Nothing in this section shall affect rights, remedies, limitations, or defenses to copyright infringement, including fair use, under this title.
(2) Nothing in this section shall enlarge or diminish vicarious or contributory liability for copyright infringement in connection with any technology,
product, service, device, component, or part thereof.
(3) Nothing in this section shall require that the design of, or design and selection of parts and components for, a consumer electronics,
telecommunications, or computing product provide for a response to any particular technological measure, so long as such part or component, or the
product in which such part or component is integrated, does not otherwise fall within the prohibitions of subsection (a)(2) or (b)(1).
(4) Nothing in this section shall enlarge or diminish any rights of free speech or the press for activities using consumer electronics,
telecommunications, or computing products.
(d) Exemption for Nonprofit Libraries, Archives, and Educational Institutions. -
(d) (1) A nonprofit library, archives, or educational institution which gains access to a commercially exploited copyrighted work solely in order to make
a good faith determination of whether to acquire a copy of that work for the sole purpose of engaging in conduct permitted under this title shall not
be in violation of subsection (a)(1)(A). A copy of a work to which access has been gained under this paragraph -
(A) may not be retained longer than necessary to make such good faith determination; and
(B) may not be used for any other purpose.
(2) The exemption made available under paragraph (1) shall only apply with respect to a work when an identical copy of that work is not reasonably
available in another form.
(3) A nonprofit library, archives, or educational institution that willfully for the purpose of commercial advantage or financial gain violates paragraph
(1) -
(A) shall, for the first offense, be subject to the civil remedies under section 1203; and
(B) shall, for repeated or subsequent offenses, in addition to the civil remedies under section 1203, forfeit the exemption provided under paragraph (1).
(4) This subsection may not be used as a defense to a claim under subsection (a)(2) or (b), nor may this subsection permit a nonprofit library, archives,
or educational institution to manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, component, or
part thereof, which circumvents a technological measure.
(5) In order for a library or archives to qualify for the exemption under this subsection, the collections of that library or archives shall be -
(A) open to the public; or
(B) available not only to researchers affiliated with the library or archives or with the institution of which it is a part, but also to other persons doing
research in a specialized field.
(e) Law Enforcement, Intelligence, and Other Government Activities. - This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized investigative, protective,
information security, or intelligence activity of an officer, agent, or employee of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision of a State, or a
person acting pursuant to a contract with the United States, a State, or a political subdivision of a State. For purposes of this subsection, the term
''information security'' means activities carried out in order to identify and address the vulnerabilities of a government computer, computer system, or
computer network.
(f) Reverse Engineering. -
(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program may
circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a particular portion of that program for the sole purpose of identifying and
analyzing those elements of the program that are necessary to achieve interoperability of an independently created computer program with other
programs, and that have not previously been readily available to the person engaging in the circumvention, to the extent any such acts of
identification and analysis do not constitute infringement under this title.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a)(2) and (b), a person may develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological
measure, or to circumvent protection afforded by a technological measure, in order to enable the identification and analysis under paragraph (1), or
for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, if such means are necessary to
achieve such interoperability, to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title.
(3) The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to
others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling
interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute
infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.
(4) For purposes of this subsection, the term ''interoperability'' means the ability of computer programs to exchange information, and of such
programs mutually to use the information which has been exchanged.
(g) Encryption Research. -
(1) Definitions. - For purposes of this subsection -
(A) the term ''encryption research'' means activities necessary to identify and analyze flaws and vulnerabilities of encryption technologies applied to
copyrighted works, if these activities are conducted to advance the state of knowledge in the field of encryption technology or to assist in the
development of encryption products; and (B) the term ''encryption technology'' means the scrambling and descrambling of information using
mathematical formulas or algorithms.
(2) Permissible acts of encryption research. - Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), it is not a violation of that subsection for a person
to circumvent a technological measure as applied to a copy, phonorecord, performance, or display of a published work in the course of an act of good
faith encryption research if -
(A) the person lawfully obtained the encrypted copy, phonorecord, performance, or display of the published work;
(B) such act is necessary to conduct such encryption research;
(C) the person made a good faith effort to obtain authorization before the circumvention; and (D) such act does not constitute infringement under
this title or a violation of applicable law other than this section, including section 1030 of title 18 and those provisions of title 18 amended by the
Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.
(3) Factors in determining exemption. - In determining whether a person qualifies for the exemption under paragraph (2), the factors to be considered
shall include -
(A) whether the information derived from the encryption research was disseminated, and if so, whether it was disseminated in a manner reasonably
calculated to advance the state of knowledge or development of encryption technology, versus whether it was disseminated in a manner that
facilitates infringement under this title or a violation of applicable law other than this section, including a violation of privacy or breach of security;
(B) whether the person is engaged in a legitimate course of study, is employed, or is appropriately trained or experienced, in the field of encryption
technology; and (C) whether the person provides the copyright owner of the work to which the technological measure is applied with notice of the
findings and documentation of the research, and the time when such notice is provided.
(4) Use of technological means for research activities. - Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(2), it is not a violation of that subsection for a
person to -
(A) develop and employ technological means to circumvent a technological measure for the sole purpose of that person performing the acts of good
faith encryption research described in paragraph (2); and (B) provide the technological means to another person with whom he or she is working
collaboratively for the purpose of conducting the acts of good faith encryption research described in paragraph (2) or for the purpose of having that
other person verify his or her acts of good faith encryption research described in paragraph (2).
(5) Report to congress. - Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this chapter, the Register of Copyrights and the Assistant Secretary
for Communications and Information of the Department of Commerce shall jointly report to the Congress on the effect this subsection has had on -
(A) encryption research and the development of encryption technology;
(B) the adequacy and effectiveness of technological measures designed to protect copyrighted works; and (C) protection of copyright owners against
the unauthorized access to their encrypted copyrighted works. The report shall include legislative recommendations, if any.
(h) Exceptions Regarding Minors. - In applying subsection (a) to a component or part, the court may consider the necessity for its intended and actual
incorporation in a technology, product, service, or device, which -
(1) does not itself violate the provisions of this title; and (2) has the sole purpose to prevent the access of minors to material on the Internet.
(i) Protection of Personally Identifying Information. -
(1) Circumvention permitted. - Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), it is not a violation of that subsection for a person to
circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title, if -
(A) the technological measure, or the work it protects, contains the capability of collecting or disseminating personally identifying information
reflecting the online activities of a natural person who seeks to gain access to the work protected;
(B) in the normal course of its operation, the technological measure, or the work it protects, collects or disseminates personally identifying information
about the person who seeks to gain access to the work protected, without providing conspicuous notice of such collection or dissemination to such
person, and without providing such person with the capability to prevent or restrict such collection or dissemination;
(C) the act of circumvention has the sole effect of identifying and disabling the capability described in subparagraph (A), and has no other effect on
the ability of any person to gain access to any work; and (D) the act of circumvention is carried out solely for the purpose of preventing the collection
or dissemination of personally identifying information about a natural person who seeks to gain access to the work protected, and is not in violation
of any other law.
(2) Inapplicability to certain technological measures. - This subsection does not apply to a technological measure, or a work it protects, that does not
collect or disseminate personally identifying information and that is disclosed to a user as not having or using such capability.
(j) Security Testing. -
(1) Definition. - For purposes of this subsection, the term ''security testing'' means accessing a computer, computer system, or computer network,
solely for the purpose of good faith testing, investigating, or correcting, a security flaw or vulnerability, with the authorization of the owner or
operator of such computer, computer system, or computer network.
(2) Permissible acts of security testing. - Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(1)(A), it is not a violation of that subsection for a person to
engage in an act of security testing, if such act does not constitute infringement under this title or a violation of applicable law other than this section,
including section 1030 of title 18 and those provisions of title 18 amended by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.
(3) Factors in determining exemption. - In determining whether a person qualifies for the exemption under paragraph (2), the factors to be considered
shall include -
(A) whether the information derived from the security testing was used solely to promote the security of the owner or operator of such computer,
computer system or computer network, or shared directly with the developer of such computer, computer system, or computer network; and
(B) whether the information derived from the security testing was used or maintained in a manner that does not facilitate infringement under this title
or a violation of applicable law other than this section, including a violation of privacy or breach of security.
(4) Use of technological means for security testing. - Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a)(2), it is not a violation of that subsection for a
person to develop, produce, distribute or employ technological means for the sole purpose of performing the acts of security testing described in
subsection (2), [1] provided such technological means does not otherwise violate section [2] (a)(2).
(k) Certain Analog Devices and Certain Technological Measures. -
(1) Certain analog devices. -
(A) Effective 18 months after the date of the enactment of this chapter, no person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise
traffic in any -
(i) VHS format analog video cassette recorder unless such recorder conforms to the automatic gain control copy control technology;
(ii) 8mm format analog video cassette camcorder unless such camcorder conforms to the automatic gain control technology;
(iii) Beta format analog video cassette recorder, unless such recorder conforms to the automatic gain control copy control technology, except that this
requirement shall not apply until there are 1,000 Beta format analog video cassette recorders sold in the United States in any one calendar year after
the date of the enactment of this chapter;
(iv) 8mm format analog video cassette recorder that is not an analog video cassette camcorder, unless such recorder conforms to the automatic gain
control copy control technology, except that this requirement shall not apply until there are 20,000 such recorders sold in the United States in any one
calendar year after the date of the enactment of this chapter; or
(v) analog video cassette recorder that records using an NTSC format video input and that is not otherwise covered under clauses (i) through (iv),
unless such device conforms to the automatic gain control copy control technology.
(B) Effective on the date of the enactment of this chapter, no person shall manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise traffic in -
(i) any VHS format analog video cassette recorder or any 8mm format analog video cassette recorder if the design of the model of such recorder has
been modified after such date of enactment so that a model of recorder that previously conformed to the automatic gain control copy control
technology no longer conforms to such technology; or
(ii) any VHS format analog video cassette recorder, or any 8mm format analog video cassette recorder that is not an 8mm analog video cassette
camcorder, if the design of the model of such recorder has been modified after such date of enactment so that a model of recorder that previously
conformed to the four-line colorstripe copy control technology no longer conforms to such technology. Manufacturers that have not previously
manufactured or sold a VHS format analog video cassette recorder, or an 8mm format analog cassette recorder, shall be required to conform to the
four-line colorstripe copy control technology in the initial model of any such recorder manufactured after the date of the enactment of this chapter,
and thereafter to continue conforming to the four-line colorstripe copy control technology. For purposes of this subparagraph, an analog video
cassette recorder ''conforms to'' the four-line colorstripe copy control technology if it records a signal that, when played back by the playback
function of that recorder in the normal viewing mode, exhibits, on a reference display device, a display containing distracting visible lines through
portions of the viewable picture.
(2) Certain encoding restrictions. - No person shall apply the automatic gain control copy control technology or colorstripe copy control technology to
prevent or limit consumer copying except such copying -
(A) of a single transmission, or specified group of transmissions, of live events or of audiovisual works for which a member of the public has exercised
choice in selecting the transmissions, including the content of the transmissions or the time of receipt of such transmissions, or both, and as to which
such member is charged a separate fee for each such transmission or specified group of transmissions;
(B) from a copy of a transmission of a live event or an audiovisual work if such transmission is provided by a channel or service where payment is made
by a member of the public for such channel or service in the form of a subscription fee that entitles the member of the public to receive all of the
programming contained in such channel or service;
(C) from a physical medium containing one or more prerecorded audiovisual works; or
(D) from a copy of a transmission described in subparagraph (A) or from a copy made from a physical medium described in subparagraph (C). In the
event that a transmission meets both the conditions set forth in subparagraph (A) and those set forth in subparagraph (B), the transmission shall be
treated as a transmission described in subparagraph (A).
(3) Inapplicability. - This subsection shall not -
(A) require any analog video cassette camcorder to conform to the automatic gain control copy control technology with respect to any video signal
received through a camera lens;
(B) apply to the manufacture, importation, offer for sale, provision of, or other trafficking in, any professional analog video cassette recorder; or
(C) apply to the offer for sale or provision of, or other trafficking in, any previously owned analog video cassette recorder, if such recorder was legally
manufactured and sold when new and not subsequently modified in violation of paragraph (1)(B).
(4) Definitions. - For purposes of this subsection:
(A) An ''analog video cassette recorder'' means a device that records, or a device that includes a function that records, on electromagnetic tape in an
analog format the electronic impulses produced by the video and audio portions of a television program, motion picture, or other form of audiovisual
work.
(B) An ''analog video cassette camcorder'' means an analog video cassette recorder that contains a recording function that operates through a
camera lens and through a video input that may be connected with a television or other video playback device.
(C) An analog video cassette recorder ''conforms'' to the automatic gain control copy control technology if it -
(i) detects one or more of the elements of such technology and does not record the motion picture or transmission protected by such technology; or
(ii) records a signal that, when played back, exhibits a meaningfully distorted or degraded display.
(D) The term ''professional analog video cassette recorder'' means an analog video cassette recorder that is designed, manufactured, marketed, and
intended for use by a person who regularly employs such a device for a lawful business or industrial use, including making, performing, displaying,
distributing, or transmitting copies of motion pictures on a commercial scale.
(E) The terms ''VHS format'', ''8mm format'', ''Beta format'', ''automatic gain control copy control technology'', ''colorstripe copy control
technology'', ''four-line version of the colorstripe copy control technology'', and ''NTSC'' have the meanings that are commonly understood in the
consumer electronics and motion picture industries as of the date of the enactment of this chapter.
(5) Violations. - Any violation of paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be treated as a violation of subsection (b)(1) of this section. Any violation of
paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be deemed an ''act of circumvention'' for the purposes of section 1203(c)(3)(A) of this chapter.

Footnotes
[1] So in original. Probably should be subsection ''(a)(2),''.
[2] So in original. Probably should be ''subsection''. US Code as of: 01/05/99


http://www.copyright.gov/

http://www.google.com/dmca.html

AND THEN THERE ARE THOSE ON THE CONTRARY:
http://www.anti-dmca.org/
AOC  Artists