Telling the Copyright Office to Remove Digital Locks
Telling the Copyright Office to Remove Digital Locks
Telling the Copyright Office to Remove Digital Locks

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    Today Public Knowledge filed a slew of comments with the Copyright Office. As we described earlier, part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal for anyone to break digital locks placed on copyrighted material – even if their eventual use of the material is perfectly legal. Fortunately, every three years the Library of Congress (with the help of the Copyright Office) is required to grant exemptions to this law for cases where the law is interfering with otherwise legal and beneficial activities.

    In November, Public Knowledge submitted requests for two exemptions. One of those exemptions was to allow people to rip their own DVDs to be able to watch the movies they own on other devices. The other was to allow people to use whatever materials they wanted in their 3D printers, even if the printer manufacturer tried to limit the printer to using only approved materials.

    Today we are filing comments in support of both the DVD ripping exemption and the 3D printing exemption. We are also filing comments in support of an exemption that would allow people with implanted medical devices to access the data those devices are collecting (to read a personal explanation of why we are supporting this exemption, check out this blog post from Sherwin).

    We are also filing a copy of these comments in the docket for every single exemption. These comments raise questions about the Copyright Office’s proceeding more generally, and apply to all of the exemption requests.

    What happens now?

    There are still two comment rounds left. On March 27 people who oppose the granting of exemptions will submit comments to the Copyright Office. Then, on May 1, people who support the exemptions have a final opportunity to respond to the opposition comments. After that there will probably be an in-person hearing at the Copyright Office (here is a playlist of videos from the most recent hearing round if you are curious).

    That means that you have until May 1 to weigh in with the Copyright Office if you support any of these exemptions. To support the DVD, 3D printing, or accessing data from medical devices, click here. To learn about other exemptions and submit comments in support, check out the Copyright Office directly or the Right to Repair site.

    Image credit: Flickr user Yuri Yu. Samoilov