DMCA rules blocking historians, making archivists into criminals

It’s been long known that the anti-copy protection clauses of the DMCA prevent honest folks from doing common “Fair Use” tasks such as backing up DVD’s they already own.

But what about the survival of our culture to future generations?  Are historians allowed to preserve media that’s been copy protected?  The answer currently is no:

So we’re looking at a future where 100% of all major cultural commercial works could be protected with DRM, taking 100% of those works out of the flow of cultural history until they become public domain, at which point they will likely already be lost due to technological obsolescence and media decay. (Interestingly, this will tilt our future understanding of the history of this period toward those works that never relied on DRM for copy protection.)

This status quo is simply unacceptable and must change, or we have to be willing, as a society and a nation, to say goodbye to libraries and the concept of universal public access to knowledge.

It’s time to repeal the anti-circumvention provision of the DMCA. It unfairly dictates how consumers can use electronic products they own, and it jeopardizes our cultural history while providing only marginal protections to copyright holders.

Let’s not make this generation the one where cultural scholarship dies.

We need a new Fair Use.

Via The Atlantic

Author: Will Kuhn

I teach music technology to high schoolers. I do some other stuff too. @willkuhn on Twitter.

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