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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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An Unjust Repeat Infringer Case

The dispute between music publisher BMG and Cox Communications has proven to be a standout Digital Millennium Copyright Act case. What the case comes down to is whether internet access providers are required to have a “repeat infringer” policy that removes customers that have engaged in copyright infringement. The court should account for the current realities of internet access and the internet’s significance to economically and socially disadvantaged communities.

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Improving Section 1201

The Copyright Office has initiated a policy study focused on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs). CDT commented in the initial phase of this study, and recently commented again in response to the Office’s request for additional comments. The Copyright Office is right to take a hard look at Section 1201, which very much needs updating to protect security researchers

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Blurring the Lines in Music Copyright Will Hurt Artists and Online Hosts

In the copyright infringement verdict against artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, a jury found the music duo guilty of copying the “total concept and feel” of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit song, “Got to Give It Up.” This holding creates the potentially dangerous notion that copyright extends past protectable elements such as melody to cover more ambiguous fields like “vibe,” “groove,” and “feel,” and could lead to significant repercussions in an era of takedowns.

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EU Copyright Proposals: Do Two Wrongs Make an Ancillary Right?

Copyright reform is one part of the EU Commission’s efforts to develop a Digital Single Market (DSM) for Europe, a vision of a robust digital economy with fewer borders and in which European creators and businesses can thrive. Leaked drafts of the Impact Assessment analyzes the predicted outcomes of the various reform proposals around copyright in light of the goals of the DSM Strategy. Unfortunately, both the proposals and the analysis raise some troubling issues.

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