A U.S. Copyright Office report says it no longer wants to review exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millenium Copyrights Act every three years. Industry-by-industry reviews have led to a patchwork of exemptions where “some technology repairs and modifications are allowed and some aren’t.” The office wants Congress to pass laws that give consumers a permanent “right-to-repair.” The issue has come up before the office on a much more regular basis, due in part to right-to-repair bills brought before eleven state legislatures. The Copyright Office says Section 1201 was never intended to facilitate manufacturers’ use of software locks to tie up products or to lock consumers into repair services offered by the manufacturer. However, the Equipment Dealers’ Association has a different point of view. “Improper repairs and modifications can void equipment warranties and/or violate applicable safety or environmental laws,” says Natalie Higgins, Vice President of Governmental Affairs and General Counsel for the E.D.A. She adds, “Those are serious concerns for our industry.”
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.
from: U.S. Copyright Office
Seventh Triennial Section 1201 Proceeding (2018)
The Copyright Office has initiated the seventh triennial rulemaking proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 1201, which provides that the Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, may adopt temporary exemptions to Section 1201’s prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The ultimate goal of the proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be in the next three years, adversely affected in their ability to make non-infringing uses due to the prohibition on circumventing access controls. When such classes are identified, the Librarian promulgates regulations exempting the classes from the prohibition for the succeeding three-year period.
As discussed in the notice of inquiry, for this proceeding, the Office is establishing a new, streamlined procedure for the renewal of exemptions that were granted during the sixth triennial rulemaking. If renewed, those current exemptions would remain in force for an additional three-year period (October 2018–October 2021).
To seek renewal of a current exemption, interested parties must submit a renewal petition, using the Office’s required fillable PDF form provided on this page. The petition to renew is a short form designed to let proponents identify themselves and the relevant exemption, and to make certain sworn statements to the Copyright Office concerning the existence of a continuing need and justification for the exemption. Written comments supporting or opposing a renewal petition may also be submitted.
If seeking to engage in activities not currently permitted by existing exemptions, including those that would require the expansion of a current exemption, interested parties must submit a petition for a new exemption using the Office’s required fillable PDF form provided on this page. Petitioners need not propose precise regulatory language or fully define the contours of an exemption class at this stage, but rather, a short, plain statement describing the nature of the activities the petitioners wish to engage in will be sufficient.
Written petitions for renewal of current exemptions are due July 31, 2017, written comments in response to any petitions for renewal are due September 13, 2017, and written petitions proposing new exemptions are due September 13, 2017. For more information, please review the notice of inquiry and the petition form instructions.