In 1998, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) was signed into law. Within its pages laid many changes to the current copyright law, most created to help fight burgeoning piracy on-line. Since its passage, the DMCA has been the target of much debate: civil rights organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and internet communities such as Slashdot have vehemently attacked the DMCA as an unconstitutional document limiting fair use, while content providers (software companies, movie studios, etc.) and industry oversight organizations such as the RIAA and the MPAA view the DMCA as an absolute necessity to ensure their long-term profitability.
We will present an overview of several common content distribution technologies that are currently at the center of the debate surrounding the DMCA (MP3, SDMI, and DVD), an analysis of their relative benefits or problems, a summary of the many arguments surrounding each technology, and an analysis of the changes that the DMCA has caused in regards to the many lawsuits currently in process. Our primary question for this site is whether or not basing laws on technology (such as is the case with the DMCA) is an ethical thing to do.