Copyright Management Murk: Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group and the Encroachment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act into the Analog Realm
Lynam & Associates is pleased to announce the publication of “Copyright Management Murk: Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group and the Encroachment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act into the Analog Realm,” authored by Kyle Dickinson, of Lynam & Associates.
COPYRIGHT MANAGEMENT MURK:
MURPHY V. MILLENNIUM RADIO GROUP AND THE ENCROACHMENT
OF THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT INTO THE ANALOG REALM
By Kyle M. Dickinson
Lynam & Associates, Chicago and Barrington, Illinois
22 DEPAUL J. ART, TECH. & INTELLECTUAL PROP. L. 485
This case note discusses Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group, the first appellate case to grapple with provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) that provide for the protection of so-called Copyright Management Information (“CMI”). CMI is usually understood as any piece of information that either helps identify the work or the right holder, or manages rights. Nonetheless, courts have expressed differing opinions as to the scope of CMI protected by the DMCA. The plain language of the DMCA appears to protect all CMI regardless of form, and most courts have, at least in dicta, interpreted the DMCA definition of CMI broadly to incorporate analog forms of copyright protection within its scope. However, several district courts have narrowly interpreted the statute to hinge protection on CMI’s function and the circumstances of its removal. In Murphy, the Third Circuit held that a credit in a print magazine qualified as protected “CMI” under § 1202. This holding prompted a perceived dissonance by some in the legal community that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act could apply to analog works and safeguards. Part II of this case note provides a brief overview of the legislative background and content of the CMI provisions of the DMCA. Part III summarizes the Third Circuit’s decision in Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group. Part IV considers the Third Circuit’s broad interpretation of the DMCA’s CMI provisions within the context of legislative history, and posits that a narrower interpretation is more proper. Finally, Part V considers the practical impact of Murphy on litigation and suggests that the Third Circuit’s decision opens the door for legal intimidation and heightened settlements in cases of completely analog acts of infringement.
The full article can be read at JDSupra.