US Copyright Office: It’s Time to Update the DMCA

The U.S. Copyright Office has released a long-awaited 192-page report that could provide an opportunity for the music and film industry to seek stricter enforcement of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),media reported. The report notes that DMCA is largely available, but some of these elements, such as the section 512 Safe Harbor clause, may need to be adjusted.

US Copyright Office: It's Time to Update the DMCA

Advocates for the Internet, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), also argue that the Safe Harbor clause is the basis for daily use of Internet services by the public, but they have criticized the DMCA for removing systems that encourage overzealous corporate censorship and undermine the right to fair use of copyrighted material. They also urged a revision of section 1201’s “anti-circumvention” clause, which is designed to prohibit violations of other technical protections such as access control and DRM, while allowing companies to engage in anticompetitive conduct.

The Copyright Office’s report, however, is the opposite. The bureau noted that these issues primarily affect copyright owners and that while it does not recommend any large-scale changes to section 512, it recommends that adjustments be made to make it easier for businesses to issue removal notices.

Finally, the report says Congress should also consider adjusting parts of the law to allow copyright owners to subpoena online service providers to identify copyright infringers, suggesting that clarifying whether it applies to Internet service providers could help businesses crack down on p2p pirates.