Intellectual Property - Electronic Copyright
Electronic Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues
Photocopying vs. Copying Electronic Documents
A photocopy is a way of saving or using the works
of another in print. If this technique is used for unauthorized republishing
or as a way to make money it is very costly and risky. On the other hand,
copying electronic documents are easier and inexpensive with the technology
we have today. Although, this is easier and harder to get caught, don't
be overconfident. If you put them on your Web site, BEWARE. This is illegal
unless permission has been granted by the creator and you could be sued.
can you use electronic documents safely?
Trademarks and the Web
Trademarks are very similar to copyrights. Trademarks are designs which
help us identify products. You may even love a product and how their trademarks
appear. Even though it may seem innocent enough to put these trademarks
on your web site, they are protected by law with exclusive rights given
only to the creator. If you use these trademarks on your web site you should
ask for permission.
Is it illegal to
use a trademark on your web site?
Can a Company find out that you are using their trademark?
Database Copyright Protection
Various international information conglomerates are pushing for
restrictions on database accessibility, and scope of use, but also providing
exclusionary circumstances. Particularly, databases of private sector or
public-private partnerships are seeking access restrictions because of
the increasing importance of the nature of this data. Further restrictions
are being sought to limit the use of data collected to the initial inteded
use thereby reducing the societal value of the origional data.
DeCSS Decrypting Lawsuit
Legislation is now in the works in the US and the EU. With its
passage, legislation is going to be drawn up in the United Nations through
the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO. If this legislation
is passed then over 171 countries will have database copyright legislations.
Currently, 18 EU nations have some type of database copyright legislation.
An encryption algorithm known as CSS is used on DVD's to prevent
illegal distribution of the media. This is a proprietary algorithm that
must be licensed in order to legally decrypt DVDs. A group of individuals
reverse-engineered this copy protection and started to distribute this
decryption algorithm which they called DeCSS. DeCSS spread across the net
showing up on many different sites that mirrored this algorithm for others
Secure Digital Music Initiative
DeCSS by itself is not very usefull, but it is the key component
needed to copy the contents of the DVD to some other media. By extension,
it is the key component to pirate movies, something the Movie Picture Association
of America(MPAA) is very concerned about. In an effort to thwart the spread
of this algorithm, the MPAA sought an injunction against 2600 The Hacker
Quarterly, a newletter geared toward hackers and also a mirror of the DeCSS
algorithm. Specifically, the MPAA sought action against the owner Emanuel
Goldstein argued for First Amendment protections citing that the
code that represented the algorithm is a form of speach just like any other
publication. After a drawn out trial, Judge Kaplan ruled against 2600 citing
that its sole purpose was to break the copy protection efforts of the MPAA
and thereby infringe on their rights. His order to cease all posting of
this code has essentially been muted by the fact that enraged citizens
have mirrored the code in servers outside of the United States jurisdiction,
as well as getting it printed onto various "memorabilia" like t-shirts
and coffe mugs.
Also see the DeCSS section of the
DMCA Study Guide
Secure Digital Music Initiative is an attempt to protect digitally
recorded music from being illegally distributed. This illegal distribution
is blatantly apparent in the success of the Napster mp3 file trading system.
The techniques being developed under this initiative are attempts to watermark
the music file so that either the file can only be listened to for a given
number of times or cannot be copied.
A challenge was made by SDMI.org to the hacker community to break
these proposed copy protection techniques. The community responded by breaking
at least two of the five proposed methods, other attempts are still in
Copyright laws are being challenged in many different ways. For further
information please look at the sub categories under Linking
and Fair Use.
Index of Topics