The last major revision to copyright law was the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed in 1998. That was three years before the iPod, six years before Google Books and nine years before the Kindle. Thanks to heavy lobbying from established industries, the DMCA restricts entire classes of technology and hampers innovative products and services from being offered to the public. . . .
The DMCA empowers the Library of Congress to grant exemptions, which must be renewed every three years. Unfortunately, the Library’s decisions have been all over the map. In the last six years, cellphone unlocking was legal. In the current cycle, which lasts until 2015, unlocking will be banned. Last year, jail-breaking your iOS device in order to run software not authorized by Apple was illegal. Now it’s legal—but only for iPhones, not iPads, and only until 2015. Why do we let the Librarian of Congress decide which uses of technology are legal?
Friday, May 31, 2013
Why do we let the Librarian of Congress decide which uses of technology are legal?