Today, Public Knowledge joined iFixit in filing comments on the Copyright Office’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to allow users to circumvent technical protection measures controlling access to copyrighted software. The comments urge the Copyright Office to allow people to circumvent digital locks in order to repair commercial and industrial equipment, including (among other things) construction equipment, enterprise IT, and soft serve ice cream machines similar to those available at McDonald’s.
The comments were filed as part of the Copyright Office’s Section 1201 review process, which encourages advocates and public interest groups to present arguments for exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Section 1201 of the DMCA makes it illegal to bypass a digital lock that protects a copyrighted work, such as a device’s software, even when there is no copyright infringement. Every three years, the Copyright Office reviews exemption requests and issues recommendations to the Librarian of Congress on granting certain exceptions to Section 1201.
The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“We have known for two decades that anti-circumvention laws chill innovation and research. The problem affects more than just ‘vanilla’ consumer devices; the inability to repair commercial and industrial equipment can freeze production, result in expensive downtime, and have ripple effects throughout multiple industries. Icing out independent repair options is a systemic problem, and issuing exemptions only for a sprinkling of narrow use cases is the cherry on top of a Grimace-worthy shake. We urge the Copyright Office to think broadly, allow users to scoop up the best ideas, defy brain freeze, and usher in a flurry of innovation that benefits consumers and businesses alike.”
You may view the comments. You may also view the previously filed petition for new exemption requested by Public Knowledge and iFixit for more information.
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-249-9435.