Faculty Scholarship

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1-1-2008


Section 1201 of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act provided sweeping protection for technological measures or virtual locks on digital content to protect the entertainment industries-including music, films, games, and consumer electronics. Manufacturers use digital rights management (DRM) authorized under the law to lock down all software embedded in products, movies on DVDs, and audio files sold on iTunes and other Internet sites. DRM unfairly extends copyright and that legal protection is unnecessary to the robust development of new creative works Critics of the DMCA have charged that the law has extended well past its anti-piracy role to undermine fair use, threaten free speech, and thwart product interoperability. Embedded in the debate are philosophical assumptions about the role of copyright to incentivize authors, musicians, artists, and other creators, as well as the role of law, technology, and social norms to enforce the customs of copyright protection. The article explains the arenas where the DMCA has benefited and hindered the broader cause of copyright and reviews the implications of copyright in the absence of technological measures for enforcement to see if there is any incentive left in the copyright regime.

Publication Title

Michigan State Law Review

Publication Title (Abbreviation)


First Page