Cato Institute Report Denounces DMCA

The Cato Institute has released a report (Circumventing Competition: The Perverse Consequences of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that is sharply critical of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The following quote is from the executive summary:

The result has been a legal regime that reduces options and competition in how consumers enjoy media and entertainment. Today, the copyright industry is exerting increasing control over playback devices, cable media offerings, and even Internet streaming. Some firms have used the DMCA to thwart competition by preventing research and reverse engineering. Others have brought the weight of criminal sanctions to bear against critics, competitors, and researchers.

The DMCA is anti-competitive. It gives copyright holders—and the technology companies that distribute their content—the legal power to create closed technology platforms and exclude competitors from interoperating with them. Worst of all, DRM technologies are clumsy and ineffective; they inconvenience legitimate users but do little to stop pirates.

And this quote is from the conclusion (links are mine):

When the next breakthrough media device is invented, its inventor should not face a legal system in which the deck is stacked against him, as Streambox and DeCSS did. He should be free to focus on hiring the best programmers, designers, and marketers, rather than on shopping for a good law firm. If industry incumbents attempt to prevent his product from working with theirs, he should be allowed to circumvent the restrictions as Accolade did in the Sega case. And if the device has a "substantial non-infringing use" and is developed and marketed for such use, Congress and the courts should uphold its legality, even if it threatens the business model of an established industry.

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