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Extreme lawsuits [digital copyright]

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Copyright owners concerned that digital technology can allow consumers to quickly make perfect copies of their works have increasingly considered adopting technology to limit that capability-technology that often limits viewing or hearing those works as well. The current fights over digital copyright are basically struggles over two questions. One is: how should the law protect copyright owners who control access to their works with measures such as encryption? The other asks whether you should be held liable for copyright violations if you make a product that can evade those control measures-but that also has legitimate uses. Answers to these questions are now emerging, if fitfully and confusingly, from a host of lawsuits, legislation, and business developments. Those answers will have far-reaching effects on everything from how we purchase music, movies, and other cultural works; what we can do with them after we buy them; and how future consumer electronics products are designed.

Published in:

IEEE Spectrum  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 5 )