August 27, 2001

Confusion over copyright and free speech

Author: JT Smith

Barrister/IT author Denis Kelleher has written an essay for The Irish Times regarding the issues and controversy surrounding the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and Ireland's Copyright Act 2000: "An odd feature of these new laws is that they may protect
copyright protection systems more strictly than they protect
copyright works themselves. If you copy a CD once, that is a
violation of copyright and you could be sued for damages by the
record company, which would be the cost of one CD or around
£15. However, if in order to carry out that reproduction you
remove what the Irish Copyright Act 2000 terms "rights
management information", then, if convicted, you could be
sentenced to a 5-year term of imprisonment and a fine of up to
£100,000. The difference is that by removing the rights
management information, you may permit others to create
thousands or millions of copies."
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