The Freedom to Link?: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Implicates the First Amendment in Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes
This Note focuses on the application of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to prohibit the posting and linking of "circumvention technology" on the Internet, while also addressing the larger issue of the unintended consequences that regulating cyberspace can have on free expression. Because hypertext links play such a fundamental role in the utility of the Internet, this Note argues that the application of the DMCA's anti-trafficking provisions to enjoin linking places a significant and unwarranted burden on the Internet as a forum for free expression. Section II is intended to provide a brief background of the technological and legal environment in which the Reimerdes controversy arose. Section III focuses on the factual background and rationale for the Reimerdes decision. Section IV then analyzes the rule of law produced by the decision and the impact that this decision has on free speech in cyberspace. Finally, this Note concludes that any prohibition banning hyperlinks should be granted only under extraordinary circumstances because of the potential for creating a substantial chilling effect on the Internet as an engine for free expression.
David A. Petteys, The Freedom to Link?: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Implicates the First Amendment in Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 25 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 287 (2001).