Several federal district courts in 2009 and 2010 interpreted a relatively obscure provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to grant a potentially broad right of attribution to owners of copyright in creative works. The statutory provision prohibits removal or alteration of copyright management information. The law gives reason for both hope and fear for news organizations. On one hand, an attribution requirement is seen by some in the news industry as relief from negative effects of technology, including online news aggregators. On the other hand, news organizations already have been sued under the copyright management provision for their conduct in newsgathering. This article examines the copyright management information provision and concludes that transformation will be a key consideration in balancing the interest in attribution with preservation of newsgathering’s reliance on access to and fair use of copyright-protected works.
Author Posting. (c) 'Edward L. Carter', 2011. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of 'Copyright Holder' for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Communication Law and Policy, Volume 16 Issue 2, March 2011.