Define Your Terms: What Do the Phrases "Copyright Management Information" and "In Connection With" from Section 1202 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Mean?”


The Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") relies on the phrases "copyright management information" and "in connection with" to delineate what can and cannot be done with copyrighted materials. Section 1202 prohibits intentional removal or alteration of "copyright management information" that is conveyed "in connection with" copyrighted works. These key phrases from Section 1202 have, however, created confusion among copyright owners and users regarding the owner's responsibilities and the user's rights. Courts have attempted to define these phrases to address this ambiguity. This article summarizes the current case law regarding these two important phrases in the DMCA.

Section 1202(b) prohibits the intentional removal or alteration of any "copyright management information," the knowing distribution of altered copyright management information, and the knowing distribution of works where the copyright management information has been removed or altered.3 Section 1202(b) provides...

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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