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Security Research and the DMCA: The Copyright Office streamlines the exemption process

In late October, the Copyright Office announced that it plans to make it easier for people to fully use their lawfully purchased items, choose which mechanics work on their cars, and improve the security of software-enabled devices. Under current law, Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), it’s illegal to circumvent the technological protection measures (TPMs) that limit the use, modification, and repair of software. TPMs are ubiquitous; they’re in everything from smartphones to cars and coffee makers, acting as digital locks on the computer code within. And bypassing these locks can trigger criminal penalties, even with a good, non-infringing reason. However, the law also includes a process by which the Librarian of Congress and the Copyright Office can issue exemptions to this flat ban on circumvention. The triennial exemptions allow the bypassing of TPMs for certain non-infringing purposes, but these exemptions are only valid for three years.

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Tech Talk: Allied for Startups and Asserting Creative Control

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode, we talk to Melissa Blaustein of Allied for Startups about how startups and policymakers can better work together. We also explore how social justice and intellectual property are related, while previewing a new legal clinic for content creators.

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EU Copyright Reform: Winter is Coming

Those involved in EU copyright reform discussions are likely to be feeling rather ‘chilly’ in view of recent developments. The original Commission proposal for a Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive was already highly problematic, but with the unexpected change of leadership of the dossier in the European Parliament last month, our initial concerns have escalated.

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Paywall to Georgia's State Legal Code a Broad Misapplication of Copyright Protections

CDT joined the ACLU Foundation, the ACLU Foundation of Georgia, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda on an amicus brief in Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org. The brief calls on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to preserve equal access to justice by upholding established precedent that bars the state from copyrighting its laws.

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Putting Problems at the Copyright Office in Perspective

Last Monday, an audit report from the Office of the Inspector General at the Library of Congress (LOC) was leaked to the public by Techdirt. The report found that the Copyright Office (USCO) mismanaged efforts to modernize its systems and that the Office failed to notify both the LOC and Congress regarding the scope of the subsequent problems. It is clear that Congress must reevaluate its current approach to copyright reform and pursue measures that will directly address the shortcomings at USCO; CDT believes that Congress should reconsider efforts to curtail Hayden’s authority and instead work with the LOC to implement reforms that will improve the copyright system for rightsholders and users alike.

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Civil Liberties Committee Defends Free Expression in AVMS Directive Debate

The European Parliament is amending the legislative proposal to reform the EU Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive. The Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) of the European Parliament adopted earlier this month its Opinion on the review, which will be taken into account by the Culture and Education Committee (CULT) leading this debate in Parliament. We welcome LIBE’s Opinion, which, contrary to CULT’s draft Report, amongst other positive elements, highlights the importance of protecting freedom of expression and information in the context of a fast-evolving media landscape, maintaining the liability protections in the E-Commerce Directive, as well as ensuring prior judicial authorisation when determining the illegality of content, elements which we will continue to strongly advocate for in this debate.

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The Needs of the 21st Century Creator

Copyright is a vital source of economic empowerment and entrepreneurship that needs to be utilized more by for 21st century content creators. Because the new generation of creators draws more heavily from copyrighted materials, it is imperative that they understand how to protect their creative works and promote copyright policies that affect the platforms that host their work.

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Reservoir Clogs: Copyright and the Public Domain

CDT is taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. We’re taking one element of the law and addressing what’s at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation.

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