Since our founding, Authors Alliance has been tracking developments around Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Every three years, the Copyright Office can adopt temporary exemptions to Section 1201’s prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. In 2016, we advocated for a streamlined, less burdensome rulemaking process in order to protect the fair uses of copyrighted works. And in August, we petitioned to renew an exemption that allows for the use of film clips in multimedia ebooks.
Beginning with this rulemaking, the Office did adopt a streamlined procedure for renewing exemptions granted during previous rulemaking sessions, with the goal of making the triennial process more efficient and less repetitious. We are pleased to report that the Copyright Office announced last week that it is recommending the renewal of all the exemptions granted in the previous rulemaking session of 2015—welcome news for authors, critics, scholars, and all who support fair uses of copyrighted content.
We applaud the Copyright Office adopting common-sense improvements to encourage a smoother path for renewals and for recommending the re-adoption of all existing exemptions.
Our work on this issue is ongoing. In September, we filed a new petition, which requests the following:
- Lawful circumvention of DRM for use in fiction multimedia e-books (the current exemption is restricted to nonfiction multimedia e-books);
- Allowing circumvention of DRM for use in multimedia e-books on other subjects besides film analysis (the current exemption allows for uses in film analysis only); and
- Removing limitations that refer to screen-capture technology.
In December, Authors Alliance—with legal assistance from the UC Irvine and the University of Colorado, Boulder and joined by other like-minded organizations—will submit a new round of comments in support of these additional exemptions to the Register of Copyrights as part of the seventh annual triennial rulemaking process for 2018, with the goal of building on the success of our previous efforts. We will continue to track this issue closely, and will provide updates on our comments and the eventual response from the Copyright Office, expected in the spring of 2018.