Locked Out: The New Hazards of Reverse Engineering


Carla Meninsky


VOL. XXI • Summer 2003 • NO. 4 (table of contents)

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21 John Marshall J. of Comp. & Info. Law 601


In this article, Meninsky contends the technological practice of reverse engineering of replacements parts and other interoperable products, which has been used to circumvent digital locks and otherwise gain access to copyrighted material and information protected as trade secrets, has been upheld by courts as fair use. This practice is discussed within the context of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), which prohibits methods employed to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work” while providing a limited exemption for reverse engineers in certain circumstances. Meninsky finds that the DMCA, in effect, thwarts competition, stunts technological advances and creates a monopoly over interfaces. She discusses alternative solutions for competitors and proposes revisions to the language of the DMCA exemption.

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