This article is a good resource for those who want to know more about the most raised question – Is there a need for legal and technological protection mechanisms that are uniform internationally? Read along ..
I reviewed the Betamax case (Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984)) from Wikipedia. See how it has played an important role in shaping fair use act. Interesting though, to note that the Supreme court ruling in favor of Sony was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, making Sony liable for contributory infringement. Also have a look at the Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation (280 F.3d 934 (CA9 2002)) case. Its a fair decision where usage of thumbnails of full creative image was found to be legal according to the Four Factors of Fair use analysis.
DRM seems to be more relevant for the movie/music industry where there is fear of losing royalty via unauthorized copying and tampering. However, strict usage of DRM in the realm of softwares wills really shrink creativity, innovation and free speech. Then it would be more of Digital “RESTRICTIONS” Management rather than Digital Rights Management (As suggested by Free Software Foundation).
Meshing of international values and practices is a difficult challenge before any efforts, which strives to bring out policies and regulations globally. However, the current scenario of communication and information without barriers, calls for a major role from US’s side to take active role in World treaties that deal with global issues.
I think the question can be best answered if we think about the way in which the world is moving towards a global village. Internet and wireless technologies has a significant role in this major upheaval. If this change brings out that there is no geographical barrier to information dissemination, then uniform methods of legal and technological protection is essential in an international sense. This is a big challenge and all countries should come together and work on it.