Revisiting the Digital Millennium

By eWEEK Editorial Board  |  Posted 2003-12-22 Print this article Print

Copyright Act"> The Digital Millennium Copyright Act also needs revisiting. Passed in 1998 to curb Net piracy, it is now used to kill competition in areas such as printer ink cartridges. This is an example of using the protection of copyrighted work to limit competition and buyer choice. A better act is needed.

Government is also struggling in the area of patents. We have always maintained that patents on software ought to be rare and that copyright law is sufficient to protect most of the intellectual property embodied in software. We agree with the World Wide Web Consortiums formal policy, issued this year, that the Web should be free of patented technologies. The potential for havoc from a faulty patent is large, and we urge the patent office to look on the Eolas patent with strong skepticism.

Although government has not generally been doing as well as it should in making its systems secure, there is reason to hope that the widespread deployment of IPv6 will put government agencies on a much firmer footing. In this effort, the Department of Defense should be applauded for leading the way.

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