Internet Piracy

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Does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act affect everyday life?  

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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) only affects everyday life for a few people.  Whether it affects a given person depends on what that person would like to be able to do.  The main impact that the DMCA has is on people who want to either A) “share” copyrighted material that does not belong to them or B) have more ways to consume copyrighted works that they have legitimately bought.

The DMCA makes it harder to engage in peer-to-peer “sharing” of files.  The DMCA has been used to shutdown services such as Napster that made such piracy easy.  However, the DMCA has not ended internet piracy.  There are still relatively easy ways to find and download materials that are copyrighted.

The DMCA also makes it harder for someone to buy a DVD or CD and then use it personally on a variety of machines.  The DMCA allows digital rights management technology to be put on DVD or CDs, making it difficult to copy them.  Therefore, for example, if you buy a DVD and want to have a copy for each of your computers, or if you want to make a back-up copy in case the original breaks, you might not be able to. 

If either file-sharing or using DVDs on multiple machines is part of one’s everyday life, DMCA has impacted everyday life.  Otherwise, it has not really done so.

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