Press Release

Copyright Office Recommends Granting DMCA Request to Allow Consumers to Repair Their Video Game Consoles

October 27, 2021

Today, the Copyright Office released its recommendations regarding the latest round of exemption requests to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The Copyright Office recommended that the Librarian of Congress grant Public Knowledge’s exemption request that will allow consumers to repair the optical drive on their video game consoles in addition to a broad exemption for repairing software-enabled consumer devices.

Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to bypass a digital lock that protects a copyrighted work, such as a device’s software, even when there is no copyright infringement. Every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office reviews exemption requests and issues recommendations to the Librarian of Congress on granting certain exceptions to Section 1201.

The following can be attributed to Kathleen Burke, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“The Copyright Office’s recommendations to allow consumers to repair software-enabled consumer devices and to to repair the optical drive on their video game consoles is a victory for consumers, Public Knowledge, and right to repair advocates. Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has often been used as a legal battering ram to prevent consumers from repairing devices they own and has significantly limited the independent repair services available to consumers.

“While Public Knowledge is excited about today’s recommendation, it does not solve the larger issues with Section 1201. The 1201 process is more broken than I could have imagined. Device manufacturers hide behind trade associations that fear-monger about pirating movies, games, and music—copyrighted works that most of the locks in question do not even protect. It’s quite possible that the only copyright some locks protect is the software copyright in the lock itself. At a minimum, future 1201 proceedings should include more technical expertise and information from device manufacturers about how their locks really work.

“Public Knowledge will continue to fight for the right to repair and Section 1201 reforms that solve these larger issues with the exemption request process.”

You can read our latest blog post, “Everything About the 1201 Process is Mad,” here.