December 5, 2009

The ACPA and the Rule Against Digital Perpetuities

The copyright-forever crowd is once again trying to turn copyright into a card that trumps civil liberties, due process, and Constitutional limitations.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that is being "secretly" negotiated by the US and other nations would require signatory nations to impose a regime similar to the US DMCA, including Digital "Rights" Management (DRM) anti-cirumvention.

Under the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8) the United States can only create copyright rights if those rights are constrained to exist only for "limited times".

DRM lasts forever.

DRM will make it difficult, often impossible, to make use of materials once the copyright term expires and the material enters the public domain.

DRM creates a perpetual right to prevent copying - a perpetual copyright.

And DRM will make it difficult, often impossible, for historians and archivists of the future to examine materials even long past the expiration of any copyright.

It thus of great importance that the ACTA adopt what I call "The Rule Against Digital Perpetuities":

No Digital Rights Management (DRM) limitation or anti-copying mechanism may endure longer than the copyright in the protected work.

See my prior notes on this subject:

Posted by karl at December 5, 2009 5:08 PM