[Athen] DMCA and Fair Use

Kerri Hicks Kerri_Hicks at brown.edu
Wed Feb 28 06:06:14 PST 2007

On Feb 28, 2007, at 8:12 AM, Berkowitz, Daniel J wrote:

> The conversations we as a profession typically have regarding Fair Use

> and Copyright tend to focus on Chaffee and Copyright Law. It has never

> been clear to me how the DMCA impacts what we do -- if at all. Anyone

> have info on this? Or should I not be concerned?

The DCMA has a huge impact on what we do in our shop. I work
primarily with humanities faculty who often want to use, for example,
multimedia materials in their research or presentations. The DCMA
makes it illegal to circumvent digital rights management/copy
protection to extract portions of those works to include in other works.

While current Fair Use provisions allow us to *use the material*, it
is illegal to *extract the material* to use, if that material is
protected by some sort of digital rights management or copy
protection. The DCMA states, "No person shall circumvent a
technological measure that effectively controls access to a work
protected under this title." It doesn't matter that you'd be
circumventing it to use the content in a legal way (for example,
within the provisions of Fair Use or the Home Recording Act), it's
still illegal to bully past the copy protection.

Here's John Doolittle's explanation of the new bill: "The Freedom And
Innovation Revitalizing U.S. Entrepreneurship Act of 2007 (FAIR USE
Act) will allow consumers, teachers, and libraries to circumvent a
technological copy protection measure in order to utilize – but not
pirate – content. It will also ensure that hardware and software
manufacturers continue to have the right to manufacture and
distribute their products for lawful use without penalty of law."

I'm in vehement support of it. :-)

Kerri A. Hicks
Senior Analyst
Scholarly Technology Group
Computing and Information Services
Brown University

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