Press Release

Public Knowledge Files Comments in Copyright Office’s DMCA Review

April 4, 2016 , , , ,

Last Friday, Public Knowledge filed comments with the Copyright Office as part of that Office’s ongoing studies on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Office is currently conducting studies of Sections 512 and 1201 – the notice-and-takedown and anticircumvention provisions, respectively – of the DMCA. Public Knowledge has been a leader in calling for reform of Section 1201, and fighting for stronger user protections in Section 512. We filed our comments to ensure that the Copyright Office gives due consideration to the public interest on these issues.

The following can be attributed to Kerry Maeve Sheehan, Policy Fellow at Public Knowledge:

“Between cell phone unlocking and tractor repair, the last four years have demonstrated how badly Section 1201 is in need of reform. Our comments highlight how Section 1201 obstructs public participation in the production and exchange of knowledge and culture, and interferes with research, repair, competition, and innovation – all contrary to the intent and purpose of copyright law. Our comments reflect our long-held view that Section 1201 must be reformed to allow the public to freely engage in non-infringing uses without engaging in a lengthy, technical, costly, and frustrating bureaucratic process every three years.”

The following can be attributed to Raza Panjwani, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Section 512 is one of the legal pillars on which the modern user-focused internet rests. It offers online platforms legal protection from liability for the actions of users, and gives copyright owners an efficient tool for removing content from the internet. However, the law has proven imbalanced, encouraging overbroad and abusive takedowns without fear of penalty. A recent comprehensive study of Section 512’s notice-and-takedown system highlighted the extent to which the law’s imbalance has perversely encouraged wrongful takedowns.

“In our comments we highlighted how the current system needs more robust protections for internet users, who otherwise see their speech and expression taken down without real recourse. We also noted that calls from some stakeholders to require online platforms to engage in pre-emptive content filtering would only exacerbate the negative effects that the current system already has on user speech, and negatively impact the diverse range of online platforms currently in operation by unnecessarily raising the costs of compliance.”

You may view our Section 512 Study comments here, our initial 1201 Study comments here, and our 1201 Study reply comments here.