Copyright Protection and Infringement Technologies

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2003

14 Pages

Free online reading


Copyrights exist to protect creative works. This protection is given so that authors of these works can continue to create new content and to ensure that they are properly compensated for their work. If people are not properly compensated for their work, many will cease to produce it.

Those who continue to produce without compensation will do it for the pure enjoyment of creation much like freeware is today. In a society without copyright protection, the proliferation of these creative works would not be as great because the creator’s concern would be for creation rather than distribution. Furthermore, some would argue that the overall quality of creative works would increase without copyright protection and that in time more information would become available.

Despite these arguments, copyright law exists, and like any other law, we must comply with it. Technology has allowed many people to infringe upon copyrights in digital media, but it has also given content producers ways to guard against infringement. As of now, the future of digital content and digital copyright protection is still unknown. The environment evolves as a continual flow of new protection and infringement technologies emerge.

Copyright Law

US copyright law is bound up primarily in the US Copyright Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. There have also been a number of recent proposed laws that may greatly affect current copyright law.

The US Copyright Act outlines the rights of a copyright holder, how to obtain a copyright, and many procedures pertaining to copyrights. “Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” These works of authorship include books, musicals, screenplays, web sites, images, software and programming code, movies, audio, and other intellectual works. Once a person has obtained a copyright, Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives them exclusive control on how it is distributed, displayed, and reproduced.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes many additions and changes to what was created in the US Copyright act. These changes were necessary because copyrighted material was now in electronic form. The DMCA made it legal to create up to three copies of copyrighted material either digitally or through fax. There were also changes to the original laws to include new copyrightable works and to support new distribution methods such as Internet broadcasting. New offenses were outlined and penalties assigned. Section 1201, for example, "prohibits gaining unauthorized access to a work by circumventing a technological protection measure put in place by the copyright owner where such protection measure otherwise effectively controls access to a copyrighted work.” This section is the grounds behind prosecuting those who try to defeat copyright protection.

One proposed law, the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Act will force the technology industry too agree on a technical standard for protecting copyrighted content. This technical standard would be incorporated into new hardware and software. This will require current PC owners to have to purchase new equipment. Hardware manufacturers claim that this will drastically harm the PC market.


The Internet has brought a huge amount of information directly into any home with a computer. People are able to do more than ever before. However, most people have misconceptions on who owns property on the Internet. Many believe that it is not wrong to copy an image from a web site to use on their own. Some people even copy entire web sites. Also, the Internet has made it easier for people to “cut-and-paste” text from a web site instead of phrasing it in their own words. If the information had been in a book, it would have been just as easy to paraphrase the text instead. In either case, people feel free to copy and never give credit for the words they steal. The basic assumption here is that anything on the Internet has become “public domain”. This assumption is completely wrong.

The problem has magnified itself in P2P or Peer-to-Peer programs. These programs can be used to transfer data between people connected to the Internet. These users can share data on their computer with other users connected to the same P2P program. Advances in sound and video compression have made it possible for songs and movies to be stored on a PC, and with P2P, they can be shared. This has led to copyright infringement on a mass scale.

Some things are still ambiguous. Frames make it possible for one web site to display content from another web site within their own frames. Some sites have agreements where this is possible. Other sites do this without permission and users falsely believe that the content within the frames belongs to the frame owner when, in actuality, it belongs to another. This could be construed as copyright infringement. Either way, it is annoying for the end user and for the owner of the framed site. An example of this can be found with This site displayed the content from other news sites within Totalnews’s own frames. Totalnews also referenced only the news information of these sites and not the associated index pages or advertisements. The other news sites filed a lawsuit against Totalnews for copyright infringement because their data was displayed in a fashion they did not approve of.


Multimedia copyright infringement is copyright infringement of music, video, and still photographic images. In each of these cases, there have been a number of protection and infringement technologies developed.


Music moved to the PC many years ago. At first, it was in the form of WAV and MIDI files. MIDI files are very different from music on tapes or CDs because they are completely computer generated sounds from a MIDI synthesizer. WAV files, however, can be an exact duplicate of a CD. These files take up a lot of space so it has never been cost effective or convenient for people to store large amount of music this way. All this changed when mp3 files were created in 1998. An mp3 is a compressed WAV at 1/12th the size. The average mp3 takes up about 3.5 Megabytes. Mp3s were a hit and music began its migration to the PC and later to the Internet.

Until recently, a broad range of users exchanged music without a thought about copyrights. The RIAA has brought this issue to the forefront with many lawsuits against both companies and individuals.

In order to protect their investment, CD manufacturers have started incorporating a number of protection technologies into their CDs. These technologies have one purpose; to stop people from being able to rip audio tracks from CDs into mp3. All mp3 files on computers and the Internet were ripped from a CD at one point in time so if ripping can be stopped, new mp3 files cannot be created and distributed. Some CD protection technologies include; Cactus Data Shield, Key2Audio, MediaCloQ, MediaMax CD3, XCP, and SCMS (Serial Copy Management System).

These technologies revolve around two main techniques. The first is an invalid table of contents. Standard CD players read audio tracks consecutively from the beginning of the disk till the end. CD Rom drives look for a table of contents that tells the drive where to look for each piece of data. Disks with multiple sessions will have more than one table of contents. CD Rom drives read each TOC but they replace the old TOC with each new version. Standard CD players do not recognize additional sessions. CD copy protection puts an invalid table of contents on a second session. This invalid TOC gives the drive incorrect information on where the data is stored so that the tracks cannot be played or ripped.

The second main protection technique is to insert errors in the data. These errors result in pops and clicks if the tracks are ripped to mp3. Some error checking drives can remove the errors but it slows down the ripping process considerably.

Cactus Data Shield (CDS) is a system that puts intentional errors or an invalid table of contents (TOC) on a disk in order to prevent software programs from effectively copying a CDS CD. The CDS system is not compatible with all players so some consumers will have problems with CDS enabled CDs. CDS comes in 3 flavors called CDS100, CDS200, and CDS300. Each of these types gives users different options for playback. CDS100 can only be played in a CD player while CDS200 can be played on a CD player or a PC. CDS300 can be played on a PC or a CD player and it also lets the music be stored on the hard drive. The CDS data is visible to the naked eye on the CD. There is a think line separating two disk sessions. The first session, starting from the inside of the disk and working outward, is where the audio tracks are stored. The second session contains the CDS data.

Key2Audio is another protection method that uses multiple sessions with an invalid TOC. Also, data stored on the second session is used to verify that the disk is authentic. If so, the user will be allowed to play the CD on a PC and the CD extra content can be executed.

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Copyright Protection and Infringement Technologies
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ISBN (Book)
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copyright, protection, infringement, technologies
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Eric Vanderburg (Author), 2003, Copyright Protection and Infringement Technologies, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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