Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Terri B. Cohen

First Page



Because its function is to protect and support innovation, copyright has been deemed a child of technology. Yet, as copyright laws increase the scope of protection for copyrighted material, one may wonder when such protection will begin to stymie, rather than encourage, emerging technology. The global trend toward internationalizing copyright protection has resulted in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty, which was intended, in part, to bring international copyright protection into the digital age. The treaty, however, extends traditional copyright protections by including a requirement that member nations implement anti-circumvention provisions into their laws.

Great debate has emerged about whether anti-circumvention provisions are a permissible extension of traditional copyright law. This Note considers some of the primary criticisms of anti-circumvention laws and the dangers inherent in an overly broad interpretation of Article 11 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty on anti-circumvention. Indeed, this Note argues that instead of encouraging creativity and the production of technology, overly broad anti-circumvention provisions have thwarted research into and development of advancing technologies. As a result, this Note considers how the goals of the WIPO and its Copyright Treaty could be achieved and concludes that anti-circumvention provisions would be more effective if limited by narrow interpretation or reasoned exceptions.