Public Knowledge Challenges Restrictions on Legitimate UseNovember 3, 2014
Today, Public Knowledge filed petitions with the Copyright Office asking for two exemptions to the copyright law that prevents users from legally accessing their own copies of copyrighted material by bypassing digital locks. The filings mark the beginning of the triennial rulemaking process, which was designed by Congress to create a safety valve to the copyright law when it recognized that the law could bar legitimate uses.
One petition requests that consumers be given the right to transfer movies from DVDs and other media onto their personal devices. Another filing would make it legal for consumers to bypass locks on 3D printers that currently force users to buy raw materials from the same company as the printer’s manufacturer, limiting consumer choice and competition in this growing market.
The following may be attributed to Sherwin Siy, Vice President of Legal Affairs at Public Knowledge:
“We’re asking the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office to return consumer rights that should never have been taken away in the first place. Copying albums from a CD to a personal device has been legal since before the introduction of the iPod in 2001. There’s no reason people shouldn’t be able to do the same with their DVDs.
“This same law is the one that makes it illegal to unlock your cell phones. That was a terrible idea that required the outrage of more than 100,000 people petitioning the White House, the voice of the White House, and an act of Congress to overturn — and then, only temporarily. Now the unlocking ban is back up for consideration this year. The least we can do is have a rule that removes this pointless application of the law.”