All Three Branches of Government Considering Copyright Reforms

BY Ali Sternburg
November 13, 2013

All three branches of government are currently contemplating copyright reform issues, with a particular focus on the DMCA’s notice and takedown provisions.  This safe harbor has been significant in encouraging investment and innovation in online platforms, and policymakers should take care not to disturb the balance contemplated by Congress in 1998.

The Executive Branch’s involvement is centered around this summer’s Green Paper from the Department of Commerce.  Today, CCIA filed comments with the PTO and NTIA in response to a request coming out of this paper, which will also be considered at a public meeting in December.  Our comments focused on the inquiries relating to the DMCA and statutory damages.

Several courts have also been tasked with interpreting the DMCA recently.  On November 1, CCIA filed a brief in the long-running Viacom v. YouTube litigation in the Second Circuit, talking about the importance of the safe harbor and asking the court to again affirm that YouTube complied with and is shielded from liability by the DMCA.  Another section of this law is being considered by another appellate court, with briefs in the latest stage of the Lenz v. Universal litigation due next month.

The legislature is in the midst of planning hearings comprising what House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte called a “comprehensive review of U.S. copyright law.”  They too are inquiring into the DMCA’s notice and takedown provisions, and also digital business models, the scope of copyright protection, and the scope of fair use.

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