Copyright Q&A

What are “technological protection measures”? What new provisions have been made in the Copyright Act?

Technological protection measures are protective measures employed by economic rights owners to prevent others from accessing or exploiting works without authorization. Such protective measures may take the form of equipment, devices, add-on components, encryption technology, a serial number, a password, or some other technology designed especially for technology protection purpose. Regardless of the means used, any measure that can effectively prevent or restrict others from entering and accessing works or exploiting works can be deemed a “technological protection measure.”

The main thrust of these provisions is that measures employed by copyright owners to effectively prevent pirating of their works may not be circumvented or disarmed without legal authorization from the rights owner. Likewise, it is also prohibited to provide any technology, equipment, or service for circumventing or disarming technological protection measures without any prior authorization. In keeping with the principle of “technological neutrality,” however, the Copyright Act also incorporates corresponding exception clauses allowing technological protection measures to be circumvented or disarmed where done for purposes such as: preserving national security or public interests; procurement evaluations by central or local government agencies, public libraries, or file archive institutions; protecting minors; protecting personal data; performing security testing of computers or networks; conducting encryption research; or conducting reverse engineering. These exception clauses will prevent technological protection measures from suppressing technological advancements.