Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

First Page



Digitization and related technologies such as file-sharing software and wireless communications are revolutionizing how intellectual content is distributed and consumed. At the same time, the ways in which consumers have chosen to use this technology are challenging how characteristics of intellectual property ownership are defined. Some of the important rights promised to owners under the Copyright Act may begin to appear as little more than formal guarantees if the explosive trend toward unauthorized copying continues to expand. As a result, the content industry has viewed the ever-expanding footprint of digital media as a mixed blessing. While this technology promises vastly more efficient means of distribution and consumption of content, the industry has also viewed this potential as constrained by the technology's ability to perpetuate digital piracy.'

To hear the content industry tell it, the growing problem of piracy represents a serious threat to its very existence. While this doomsday prophesy is hyperbolic, policy makers in the arts policy community nevertheless have a duty to evaluate the merits of this claim, as the continued commercial viability of the content industry must surely be a core concern of any realistic cultural policy.