Janet Hawtin argues that policy developers must look at alternatives to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to help the nation recognise that we have an opportunity to respond to this treaty differently.Australia is at risk of being legislated out of the information economy. Laws are usually developed to benefit the broadest base of people and business possible. The incoming DMCA has a very short list of beneficiaries and a very long list of potential losers.
Technology including computers, electronics, e-commerce, internet, games, vehicles, industrial plant and equipment all increasingly use digital information and software. These systems also affect the businesses and daily lives of all Australians. All of these aspects of the information economy are impacted by the DMCA.
The DMCA enables primary brands such as Microsoft, Disney, Time Warner, Lexmark, to lock down hardware, software and content with DRM(digital rights management) including TPM(technological protection measures). This will mean that the default state for DRM technology is to be locked away. It will be illegal to interact with DRM hardware, software or content without prior permission from the rights holder. This of course presents a real threat to the researchers and entrepreneurial businesses for which Australia has an excellent reputation.