Report: Copyright

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  Copyright Management and Control Systems: Pre-Infringement

Pre-infringement copyright management and control systems that inhibit or control infringement of intellectual property may be put into place by copyright owners before distributing their works. Examples are:


Contracts are a pre-infringement control method, which very often is underestimated. Properly formed contracts enable copyright holders to restrict the use of their works in excess of the rights granted under copyright laws.

Copy Protection

This approach was standard in the 1980s, but rejected by consumers and relatively easy to break. Still copy protection, whereby the vendor limits the number of times a file can be copied, is used in certain situations.

Limited Functionality

This method allows copyright owners to provide a copy of the work, which is functionally limited. Software creators, for example, can distribute software that cannot print or save. A fully functional version has to be bought from the vendor.

Date Bombs

Here the intellectual property holder distributes a fully functional copy but locks off access at a pre-specified date or after a certain number of uses.

browse Report:
    Intellectual Property and the "Information Society" Metaphor
-3   Linking and Framing: Cases
-2   Positions Towards the Future of Copyright in the "Digital Age"
-1   Enforcement: Copyright Management and Control Technologies
0   Copyright Management and Control Systems: Pre-Infringement
+1   Copyright Management and Control Systems: Metering
+2   Copyright Management and Control Systems: Post-Infringement
+3   Problems of Copyright Management and Control Technologies
Recent "Digital Copyright" Legislation: European Union
Technological measures
As laid down in the proposed EU Directive on copyright and related rights in the information society technological measures mean "... any technology, device, or component that, in the normal course of its operations, is designed to prevent or inhibit the infringement of any copyright..." The U.S. DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) divides technological measures in two categories: 1) measures that prevent unauthorized access to a copyrighted work, and 2) measures that prevent unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work. Also the making or selling of devices or services that can be used to circumvent either category of technological measures is prohibited under certain circumstances in the DMCA. Furthermore the 1996 WIPO Copyright Treaty states that the "... contracting parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures that are used by authors..."