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Open Internet

Testimony of David Sohn before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet on “The Rise of Innovative Business Models: Content Delivery Methods in the Digital Age”

This testimony was prepared for the House Judiciary Committee for one of a series of high-level hearings on copyright reform. In it, we highlight several trends related to copyright and the online dissemination of creative works: increasing demand for on-demand, a la carte access to entertainment; the growth of social media and user-generated content; and the rapid pace of technological innovation to meet the demands of an evolving marketplace.

As major copyright reform is considered, CDT recommends that Congress work to preserve and strengthen this environment for innovation. This means maintaining several critical features of current copyright law: safe harbor for Internet intermediaries, the Sony doctrine protecting products with substantial non-infringing uses; and fair use. Congress should also seriously consider reforming statutory damages, adding an explicit exception to copyright for personal non-commercial uses of copyrighted works, and simplifying the Act in recognition of the fact that copyright is no longer solely the province of a relative handful of highly specialized companies and lawyers.