Fix the DMCA to Preseve our Cultural Heritage

March 15th, 2013 by Benj Edwards

Mickey Mouse Copyright Blur

Just up on The Atlantic.com is an op-ed I wrote that argues for repealing the anti-circumvention section of the DMCA because it threatens the preservation of our cultural heritage.

Perhaps by now you've heard about the campaign to repeal the anti-circumvention section (1201) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This most recent challenge to the DMCA arose from a recent decision by the Librarian of Congress to discontinue a three-year exemption that made cell phone unlocking legal.

Opponents of the DMCA anti-circumvention provision claim that the law threatens consumer control over the electronic devices we buy, and they're right. But the stakes are much higher than that. Our cultural history is in jeopardy. If the DMCA remains unaltered, cultural scholarship will soon be conducted only at the behest of corporations, and public libraries may disappear entirely.

That's because the DMCA attacks one of the of the fundamental pillars of human civilization: the sharing of knowledge and culture between generations. Under the DMCA, manmade mechanisms that prevent the sharing of information are backed with the force of law. And sharing is vital for the survival of information. Take that away, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Share my article. Spread the word. It's time to fix the DMCA.

"DRM is a problem like mold is a problem, like fire is a problem. What distinguishes it, of course, is that it's a man-made construct, which makes it seem really sad." - Jason Scott, Archivist at The Internet Archive



2 Responses to “Fix the DMCA to Preseve our Cultural Heritage”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    Good article, more people need to be aware of how bad this law is and how much it effects everyone.

  2. Marcelo Motta Says:

    Very thoughtful article, thanks for sharing. I'm Brazilian and we don't have anything like DMCA here. Actually regulations about digital products and the internet are very loose in Brazil. The good side is that you can download content freely (or almost free at least), but companies are also allowed to make draconian DRM's and people are largely unaware of circumventing methods. Basically we are in an "anything goes" situation…
    It's always good to be aware of the harm that a bad piece of legislation can do, specially when american law acts like a model to legislators in other countries.
    I believe that DMCA is one of those cases when the law is just plain wrong!

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