Copyright Ownership in the Digital Age

Chris Jordan


The cases of Huntsman v. Soderbergh and Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes illustrate how corporations use copyright law to control the accessibility ofdigitally encoded movies rather than recognizing that consumers should have fair access to information goods and services. In preventing aftermarket digital videodisc (DVD) editors from customizing movies for customers, the former case threatens to stilt technological innovation, even though history has shown that embracing new technologies has enabled Hollywood to increase its profits and tap new markets. The latter case exemplifies how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) construes a software program designed to widenaccess to legitimately purchased DVDs as a piracy tool. The tightening grip of the Hollywood studios over how legally acquired movies can be used must be balanced against the right of consumers to utilize them as they see fit.

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