The Not-So-Great Case Against Our §1201 Exemption Requests

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Earlier this year, Public Knowledge submitted comments to the Copyright Office as part of the Librarian of Congress’s triennial exemption review process, in support of three requests for exemptions to the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision:


 


Last month, opponents of these exemptions filed their responses. We’re in the process of preparing reply comments for the final round of submissions in the Copyright Office’s process, which are due on May 1 (tomorrow!), but we wanted to share a sampling of some of the spurious arguments being raised against these requests.

From the DVD Copy Control Association:

“When consumers buy a DVD or Blu-ray disc, they are not purchasing the motion picture itself, rather they are purchasing access to the motion picture which affords only the right to access the work according to the format’s particular specifications”

Remember that DVD you bought with a movie on it? Turns out that you didn’t. You only bought the right to play it in a licensed DVD player, therefore you don’t get to transfer it to your iPad.

From Stratasys:

“For example, during the fifth triennial rulemaking, the Librarian, acting on the recommendation of the Register, declined to renew an exemption for circumvention of locks that control access to wireless phone networks based primarily on the presence of alternatives in the marketplace.”

Stratasys doesn’t think you need the ability to use (cheaper) third-party feedstock in their 3D printers. Instead, you should just buy another printer that doesn’t have restrictions. (Coincidentally, the opponents of the DVD ripping exemption make a similar argument - you don’t need to be able to shift your movie to your iPad - just buy it again on iTunes!) The irony here is that Stratasys uses cell phone unlocking as an example to bolster their argument. Perhaps they don’t know how that ended.

From the Intellectual Property Owners Association:

Any exemption which allowed circumvention and subsequent unauthorized access to patient information [on implanted medical devices]... would risk HIPAA violation.

This response from the IPOA highlights one of the fundamental problems with §1201 - many of the uses it blocks have nothing to do with copyright. Here, they argue that you shouldn’t have permission to access the data on implanted medical devices, because it might somehow violate HIPAA privacy regulations.

We’re hard at work countering the legal arguments raised in these opposition comments, but we could use your help in showing how real consumers are harmed by these restrictions. Please take a minute to visit the Digital Right to Repair website and use this form to submit comments in support of these and other exemption requests.

 

Image credit: Flickr user opensourceway

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