New Media Rights’ final DMCA Anti-circumvention comments encourage the Copyright Office to protect fair use for all filmmakers

Today, New Media Rights submitted our final set of comments supporting exemptions that allow filmmakers to bypass encryption and technical protections measures for purposes of making fair use.

Specifically, following testimony in May, the Copyright Office requested definitions of a variety of terms including documentary, documentary-like, non-fiction, fictional, scripted, biopic, “inspired by,” imaginative, and “totally fiction” that were used in the proceeding.

In our responses to the Copyright Office's request, we explain that genre distinctions are not easily made, and that an exemption for all filmmakers is the best way to proceed. 

Testify! Why anti-circumvention exemptions are important for ALL filmmakers

Filmmakers who want to reuse the culture around them for commentary and criticism need to understand fair use, but that's not the only legal issue they have to worry about. Even if their use is a fair use, the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions make it illegal just to bypass any encryption (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) or Technological Protection Measures (TPM)) that restricts access to that content. This is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds.  Simply accessing content to make a fair use can still be illegal under federal law, even when there is no copyright infringement!

Every 3 years, the Copyright Office considers exemptions to these anti-circumvention provisions.  The process is highly problematic, but right now its the only way to provide any relief from this overreaching law that's been on the books since 1998. This year we submitted comments on three important exemptions (regarding installing software of your choice on your devices, as well as your right to reuse video content under fair use).

On Wednesday May 20, we testified regarding Class 6, which is all about allowing filmmakers to bypass encryption on DVDs, Blu Ray discs, and online sources, to make use of content under fair use.   We want to thank California Western law students Emory Roane and Patrick McManus for their great work helping prepare comments and testimony in this proceeding.

New Media Rights to file comments supporting key Anti-Circumvention exemptions

We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation. Today's theme is "Owners Rights" and the upcoming Copyright Anti-Circumvention Exemption Proceeding.

Comments to the Copyright Anti-Circumvention Exemption Proceeding are due February 6, 2015.  As in past years (2012, 2009), New Media Rights will be offering direct evidence of the creators and consumers we work with who rely on these exemptions.  Here's a brief preview of our comment.

2012 DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking: Final exemptions make progress but miss important opportunities

Every three years the Copyright Office considers exemptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s Anti-Circumvention provisions.  These exemptions are critical to protecting otherwise legal activity by internet users and independent creators alike, but they have to be reargued every three years.   

We fought all year at the Copyright Office through comments and testimony, and we're proud to have been a part of making sure these important exemptions originally proposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation were granted by the Copyright Office on October 26, 2012.

Check out this post to learn more about our work on these exemptions, and to read the Copyright Office's final rule.


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