Berklee Today: The State of Digital Law
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Intellectual property law suffers, perhaps more than any other substantive area of law, from an inability to keep up with innovation. As technologies continue to develop and enter the marketplace at an exponential rate, current laws and guidelines struggle to keep up and protect rights holders while encouraging innovation. Copyright law is no exception.
Congress has tried to anticipate future delivery schemes for music and other copyrighted works, with amendments such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Updates to copyright law are commonly considered as a response to a specific technology, as seen earlier in the case of the DAT and the Audio Home Recording Act. Legislation was also introduced to address one of the first websites to serve music consumers, MP3.com. With mega-corporations controlling copyrighted works for ever-increasing copyright durations, does it make sense to continue restricting rights? On the flip side, does it spur creativity to have creative works floating around for free? These are some examples of the weighty questions that must be asked every time a change to the law is contemplated.