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10 ways you might be breaking the law with your computer: UPDATED

Mar 12, 2010, 05:02 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Debra Littlejohn Shinder)

"For many years, the Internet was the "final frontier," operating largely unregulated — in part because of the jurisdictional nightmare involved in trying to enforce laws when communications crossed not just state lines but also national boundaries. That was then; this is now. Legislation that affects the use of Internet-connected computers is springing up everywhere at the local, state and federal levels. You might be violating one of them without even knowing.

"In this article, we'll take a look at some of the existing laws and some of the pending legislation that can influence how we use our computers and the Internet. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice; this is merely an overview of some of the legislation that's out there, how it has been interpreted by the courts (if applicable), and possible implications for computer users.

"1: Digital Millennium Copyright (DMCA) Act

"Most computer users have heard of this law, signed in 1998 by President Clinton, implementing two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. The DMCA makes it a criminal offense to circumvent any kind of technological copy protection — even if you don't violate anyone's copyright in doing so. In other words, simply disabling the copy protection is a federal crime."

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