The DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) of 1998 criminalizes the production or dissemination of technology or services that circumvent digital rights management intended to control access to copyrighted works. There were exempttions passed in July of 2010 that give educators more rights including mking copies of short pieces of DVDs for non commercial uses.
Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)
The U.S. Copyright Office explains that "the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) was the foundation of an effort...to move the nation's copyright law into the digital age..." and that the "...enactment of the DMCA was only the beginning of an ongoing evaluation by Congress on the relationship between technological change and U.S. copyright law."1
"Section 1201(a)(1) of the copyright law requires that every three years [the Librarian of Congress] is to determine whether there are any classes of works that will be subject to exemptions from the statute’s prohibition against circumvention of technology that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work." 2
Exemptions to DMCA
Some recent revisions may affect higher education.
United States Copyright Office has a "Statement from the Librarian of Congress on the Anticircumvention Rulemaking" (dated 7/26/2010) in which the Librarian of Congress, James Billington, describes which types of work are to be exempt from DMCA.
Resources to Guide You
1 U. S. Copyright Office. (2010). Executive Summary - Digital Millennium Copyright Act . Retrieved from http://www.copyright.gov/reports/studies/dmca/dmca_executive.html
2 U. S. Copyright Office. (2010). Statement from the Librarian of Congress on the Anticircumvention Rulemaking. Retrieved from http://www.copyright.gov/1201/2010/Librarian-of-Congress-1201-Statement.html