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Copyright 4 Educators (US)

Week 5

Tara Wheatland's picture
Sat, 2010-09-04 01:07

Week 5 - Copyright Licensing and Digital Rights Management
Key words: licensing, terms of use, Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Background: In addition to the exclusive rights granted to copyright owners under the copyright act, there are two other major ways a right owner can restrict access to their works.

First, a right owner can license the right to use a work under a contract. On web pages or online services, these are frequently referred to as Terms of Use or Terms of Service. In downloaded software, including games, these are commonly referred to as End User License Agreements (EULA’s) or Software License Agreements. These contracts can contain various provisions restricting the use of a copyrighted item beyond the rights provided under the copyright act. Additionally, many of these contracts may bind you to their terms by mere use of the service to which the contract is attached. Finally, these contracts can impose restrictions on the use of content or software beyond the exclusive rights granted to a copyright owner under the copyright act.

Secondly, a right owner may employ technological restrictions on use of their content in the form of digital rights/restrictions management (DRM) technology. These restrictions can also extend beyond the rights granted under the copyright act. In certain jurisdictions, circumventing technological restriction like DRM can also be against the law. In the United States, a recent rulemaking by the Librarian of Congress has granted a temporary exceptions to the prohibition on anticircumvention in the copyright act.

Assigned Materials

Definition of “contract” under’s law dictionary -

Yahoo Terms of Service -, Section 1, Section 6, and Section 9.

Wikipedia - Article on Digital Rights Management -

EFF - Summary of the Blizzard v BnetD case -

DMCA Anti circumvention provisions -

US Copyright Office - Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works -

Additional Materials (optional)

Google Terms of Service - - Section 2, Section 5 and Section 10.

Discussion Questions:   These are questions provided for your understanding, to be discussed with your group and with the course facilitators in office hours.  Answers to these questions do not have to be submitted and will not be part of your grade.

(1) Two part question:

(a) You downloaded this photo from Flickr: - what can you do with this image under federal and state laws?

(b) You download this photo from Google Images: - what can you do with this image under federal and state laws?

(2) You are a college professor and you need to circumvent DRM on an encrypted DVD in order to use materials on that DVD to teach a college film class. The DVD came with a EULA which you read and clicked through that prohibited the circumvention of the encryption on the DVD for any reason. Would you be able to legally rip the materials you needed from that DVD?