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FCC Should Act to Protect Broadband Customers’ Data

CDT and 58 other organizations submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) calling on the agency to initiate a rulemaking to protect the privacy of broadband Internet customers. CDT believes that establishing broadband privacy rules under the FCC’s Title II authority is a critical step toward securing Internet users’ privacy online. We urge the Commission to take that step as soon as possible.

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Geoblocking and Platforms in the Digital Single Market: A Tale of Two Consultations

Europe is striving to remove national silos and modernize regulatory structures to create a digital single market (DSM). The Commission opened consultations to gather public input regarding two aspects of the future implementation of this goal. One asks about the difficulties of providing and accessing information and goods across national borders in the EU, presumably with the intent of reducing cross-border trade issues, online and offline. The other questions the use, value, and potential for increased regulation of certain online entities participating in two-sided markets, which the consultation dubs “platforms.”

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Research, Not Copyright, Should Protect the Environment

The EPA advised the Copyright Office against granting temporary exemptions to the copyright laws prohibiting the circumvention of the technological protection measures (TPMs) designed to prevent access to vehicles’ embedded software. The agency warned that, without the TPM’s and the prohibition of their circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), car owners would access and modify their vehicle’s software in ways that might violate the Clean Air Act. CDT does not agree with this logic.

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Parliament Adopts Reda Report Calling on Commission to Harmonize and Balance Copyright

In a plenary session, the European Parliament voted yesterday to adopt a report on “the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.” In a previous post, we applauded the report’s recognition of the importance of balanced copyright while lamenting over some the elements of the draft report that failed to make their way into the text adopted by Parliament’s legal affairs committee (JURI). Even with deletions and alterations, the report highlights the need for minimum baseline of copyright limitations and exceptions across the Union. The text of the report remains largely unchanged since its adoption by JURI, but a few late amendments made important improvements to the report.

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Improving the Legal Landscape for Security Research

Every three years, the Copyright Office conducts a notice-and-comment rulemaking through which interested parties pursue exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions. Section 1201 of the DMCA, added in 1998, aims to prevent (already illegal) copyright infringement in the digital context by making it illegal to bypass the technological locks rightsholders install to control access to copies of their works. Unfortunately, the threat of the DMCA’s potential civil and criminal penalties discourages more than would-be copyright infringers. Computer scientists and researchers who wish to test the security of software-driven devices may also face liability under the statute.

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Thawing Chilled Security Research: An Opportunity for the Copyright Office

This year, the Copyright Office has the opportunity to reduce the uncertainty the DMCA creates for security research. The Copyright Office’s sixth triennial rulemaking under the DMCA may offer some relief from one particular disincentive to security research. Through triennial rulemakings, the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress can grant temporary exemptions to the DMCA’s section 1201 prohibition on the circumvention of access controls protecting copyrighted works. Without an exemption, circumventing access controls can lead to significant legal consequences, even if no copyright infringement occurs.

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