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Copyright Fraud in the Internet Age: Copyright Management Information for Non-Digital Works Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

by Russell W. Jacobs
13 Colum. Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 97 (Published Feb. 15, 2012)


With the advent of the digital age, authors of creative works enjoy the benefits of quickly and inexpensively distributing their works to global audiences.  These developments have unfortunately led to the negative consequence that pirated, unauthorized, or altered copies reach potential users before the creator of the work releases the authentic version according to his or her terms.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 sought to address some of these concerns by punishing circumventions of technologies controlling access to copyrighted works (17 U.S.C. § 1201) and by protecting “copyright management information,” i.e. the data identifying the author and the terms of use of a copyrighted work (17 U.S.C. § 1202).

While scholars have commented extensively on section 1201, little scholarship exists on section 1202.  This Article addresses that gap.  The Article discusses a federal court split regarding the scope of application of section 1202 and demonstrates that the legislative history and the plain language of the statute call for broad application to both digital and non-digital works.  The Article then looks at section 1202 in the context of Internet fraud, and argues that this section functions as a consumer fraud statute, offering protections for the provision of accurate information and authentic works that can well serve copyright owners and consumers.

About the Author

Corporate Counsel, Starbucks Coffee Company. J.D. (J. Kent Scholar, Hamilton Fellow), Columbia Law School; A.B. (with highest distinction), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Mr. Jacobs graduated from Columbia Law School in 2002 where he was a Hamilton Fellow, a James Kent Scholar, and served as Articles Editor and Notes Editor for the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts. He also graduated in the top 1% of his class at the University of Michigan, double majoring in History of Art and Spanish. He is currently Corporate Counsel with Starbucks Coffee Company, focusing on domestic and international intellectual property issues.

Important Note

For proper legal citation of this document, please cite to the following URL: The URL that currently appears in your browser’s location toolbar is incorrect. For more information on Bluebook citation of internet sources, click here.

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  • Internet Frauds

     Often, the first indication that a victim’s wallet has been stolen is a
    phone call from a credit card issuer asking if the person has gone on a
    spending spree; the simplest form of this theft involves stealing the
    card itself and charging a number of high-ticket items to it in the
    first few minutes or hours before it is reported as stolen.

  • STLR Guest Speaker – February 21, 2013

    [...] Copyright Fraud in the Internet Age: Copyright Management Information for Non-Digital Works Under th… [...]

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