Comments on Software‐Enabled Consumer Products Study by Copyright Office

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) thanks the Copyright Office for the opportunity to submit these comments in response to its inquiry into copyright law’s influence on software‐enabled devices (and vice versa), and thanks Senators Leahy and Grassley for prompting that inquiry. While copyright protection incentivizes the creation and distribution of software, the increasing ubiquity of software‐enabled and network devices raises fundamental questions over that protection’s consistency with legitimate user expectations regarding ownership of those devices and the freedom to explore and modify their inner workings. Legislative change ultimately may be required to harmonize copyright protections and limitations with users’ legitimate expectations. In the near term, improved clarity around both the scope of copyright protection and the terms of software licenses would benefit rightsholders, users, and the individuals and entities seeking to pursue new business models, improve innovative devices, or simply figure out how the latest technology works.


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