US Copyright Office seeks public input for DMCA update

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In an effort to act on the need to update US copyright law more than 20 years after passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, US Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis requested in June 2021 that the Copyright Office establish a working group to “achieve the identification and implementation of technical measures” to address piracy.

Acting on this request, the Copyright Office opened a public comment period to solicit input from copyright stakeholders, and from other US government agencies.  Rights-holders, online service providers and users are asked to identify technical measures, their effectiveness, and obstacles to adoption.  The Copyright Office notice also asks how government can play a role; whether in the form of regulation, best practices, standards, or documentation requirements.

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February 22 Plenary Consultation meeting

The Copyright Office is hosting a consultation meeting on February 22, 2022 via Zoom. Depending on the level of interest received, the Copyright Office may extend that meeting to a second day, February 23.  Subsequent industry-sector specific consultations will be announced later.  Entities and persons that submit comments in writing are not required to participate in the meetings.

For further details

Instructions and the link for filing submissions are published by the Copyright Office. Written statements of interest must be received by February 8, 2022, and will be posted to the public via the Web site.

Why it matters

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is more than 20 years old; passed in the very early days of streaming, before the existence of social media, and long before the advent of smartphones.  Pirates have also become adept at evading take-down attempts and this current Copyright Office consultation initiative hopes to better understand currently-available technical measures that can help identify and protect copyrighted works.

Senator Tillis, Leahy, and others have been vocal advocates for copyright and piracy issues.  For example, Senator Tillis authored the “Protecting Lawful Streaming Act of 2020” which made streaming piracy a felony under US law.  Leahy and several others were co-sponsors.

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