The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in 1998 as an anti-piracy statute
to make it illegal to circumvent copy protections designed to prevent pirates from duplicating digital copyrighted works and selling or freely distributing them. The DMCA also makes it illegal to manufacture or distribute tools or techniques for circumventing copy controls.
However, the DMCA has been applied more broadly than originally intended. For example, game developers, music and film companies, and others have used the DMCA to maintain control on how consumers use their copyrighted works by preventing individuals from making copies of their purchased products for their own use or jailbreaking smartphones. Laser printer makers have also used the DMCA to prevent third-party companies from selling refilled toner cartridges for the printers. Apple also tried used the DMCA to take down forums discussing ways to unlock iPods to sync music playlists between iPods and iPhones without having to use iTunes.
As the DMCA continues to evolve and be applied in new ways, individuals and companies should be careful in dealing with anti-piracy and security features of other products.
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