Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act

Title III of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act, broadened Section 117 of the Copyright Act to allow third-party maintenance organizations to used software licensed to a computer’s owner or lessee as part of their maintenance activities, overriding the Ninth Circuit’s 1993 decision in MAI v. Peak.

That case held that "the loading of software into a computer constitutes the creation of a copy under the Copyright Act," and because Peak, as a third-party maintenance company, did not have permission under the licenses to the computer owners to load the MAI's maintenance software in preparation for running it, Peak infringed MAI's copyrights.

Rather than say that information stored in RAM is not a "copy" as used in the Copyright Act, Congress instead provided a narrow exception to infringement "for the owner or lessee of a machine to make or authorize the making of a copy of a computer program if such copy is made solely by virtue of the activation of a machine that lawfully contains an authorized copy of the computer program, for purposes only of maintenance or repair of that machine," as long as specified conditions are met.