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.
New Media Rights has filed comments with the Copyright Office supporting three exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions. Similar to our 2009 comment to the Copyright Office, this comment supports the right to bypass anti-circumvention technologies to a) allow individuals to take control of the apps and services they use on their mobile devices, and b) allow creators and internet users to reuse video content for fair use purposes. Our 2012 comment also supports recommendations that these exemptions should be extended beyond their 2009 counterparts in two very important ways – we argue that jailbreaking should also apply to tablets and that the bypassing of anti-circumvention technology should include non-DVD sources.
The exemptions provide an important safety valve for otherwise lawful behavior by consumers and creators.
New Media Rights recently protected blogger Michael Petrelis' speech and commentary regarding another blogger who pretended to be a gay Syrian woman living in Damascus.
Mr. Petrelis is just one example of the hundreds of individuals who rely on New Media Rights daily. His story reminds us that we have the right to criticize and comment on the culture that surrounds us.
The Senate is gearing up for another go-round on rogue websites legislation, and this time, they've jettisoned the "COICA" label in favor of calling it the "PROTECT IP Act." Like a summer blockbuster sequel, it tightens up some things, adds a few new villains, but in the end reprises the same general plot.
Regardless of how one feels about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) as a whole, it’s clear that the Copyright Office's recent rulemaking process has appropriately further limited the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision. In February 2009, New Media Rights submitted comments in support of these changes that have now been enacted.
The Office's ruling attempted to clarify the DMCA's prohibition on “circumventing” digital rights management (DRM) and “other technical protection measures” -- a prohibition that, up until now, has given Apple the theoretical right to intimidate iPhone users with “jailbroken” phones with legal action. The Office ruled that this jailbreaking does not constitute violation of the DMCA. Although Apple has never prosecuted any iPhone jailbreaker under the DMCA, Apple did strongly object to any exemption to the anti-circumvention rule. This has led many general interest news sources to label these recent exemptions as a victory specific to iPhone jailbreakers which isn’t true. The victory is a broader one, for cell phone users, video remix artists, documentarians, and educators, among others.