Journal Article

Account-sharing: a legitimate alternative to unlawful circumvention for the purposes of achieving content portability?

Vasiliki Samartzi

in International Journal of Law and Information Technology

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 66-91
Published in print March 2013 | ISSN: 0967-0769
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1464-3693 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijlit/eas023
Account-sharing: a legitimate alternative to unlawful circumvention for the purposes of achieving content portability?

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This article discusses the issue of content portability by providing copies to others. Since in many cases circumvention of digital rights management (DRM) is the only way forward in order to achieve content portability, the question arises whether it is similarly unlawful to share the account information, thus allowing the content to be accessed by a third party. For the purposes of this work content portability refers to the ability to play a work on several devices, to share files and to time-, space- or format-shift files. Therefore, this article concentrates on the private copying exception, which can be considered as the common denominator behind the aforementioned acts, in the context of which it is examined whether account-sharing can constitute an alternative legitimate option to unlawful circumvention of DRMs applied to works. To the extent this examination covers both USA and European developments in the area of anti-circumvention legislation interpretation it can be considered comparative. However, the main focus of this article is European law and its main purpose is to show that the sharing of account information in order to achieve content portability does not fall foul of the European anti-circumvention legislation and, thus, contribute to the wider dialogue for the development of a more balanced European digital copyright law.

Keywords: account-sharing; content portability; anti-circumvention legislation; self-help circumvention; enforcement of copyright; exceptions; digital rights management

Journal Article.  13840 words. 

Subjects: IT and Communications Law

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