New DMCA Comment Period

The Copyright Office is again accepting comments for proposed 3-year exemptions from Section 1201(a)(1) of the DMCA which states:

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.

The Copyright Office has put up the form for submitting comments about "whether noninfringing uses of certain classes of works are, or are likely to be, adversely affected by [the DMCA's] prohibition on the circumvention of measures that control access to copyrighted works."

Three important things to remember: 1) The Copyright Office will only except exemptions that relate to a "class of works" not a type of use or user; 2) The Copyright Office will only except comments related to circumventing access controls under 1201(a)(1) not trafficking in circumvention of access control devices under 1201(a)(2) or trafficking in circumvention of copy controls under 1201(b); and, 3) now that 1201(a)(1) has been in force for a few years, the Copyright Office will be more focused than ever on actual harm, rather than prospective harm.

In the last comments period, the following two exemptions were granted:

1. Compilations consisting of lists of websites blocked by filtering software applications; and

2. Literary works, including computer programs and databases, protected by access control mechanisms that fail to permit access because of malfunction, damage or obsolescence.

These do not get automatically renewed, so if you use these rights, you will have to submit a comment to fight for them.

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