Sonia Katyal of Fordham Law School has written a thought-provoking paper on the relationship between copyright enforcement and privacy in the digital age. Some very interesting observations here on the increasingly invasive methods used by rightsholders to control how intellectual property is accessed and shared. Excerpt:
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A few years ago, it was fanciful to imagine a world where intellectual property owners - such as record companies, software owners, and publishers - were capable of invading the most sacred areas of the home in order to track, deter, and control uses of their products. Yet, today, strategies of copyright enforcement have rapidly multiplied, each strategy more invasive than the last. This new surveillance exposes the paradoxical nature of the Internet: It offers both the consumer and creator a seemingly endless capacity for human expression - a virtual marketplace of ideas - alongside an insurmountable array of capacities for panoptic surveillance. As a result, the Internet both enables and silences speech, often simultaneously.
This paradox, in turn, leads to the tension between privacy and intellectual property. Both areas of law face significant challenges because of technology's ever-expanding pace of development. Yet courts often exacerbate these challenges by sacrificing one area of law for the other, by eroding principles of informational privacy for the sake of unlimited control over intellectual property. Laws developed to address the problem of online piracy - in particular, the DMCA - have been unwittingly misplaced, inviting intellectual property owners to create private systems of copyright monitoring that I refer to as piracy surveillance.