The Librarian of Congress, on the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, has announced the classes of works subject to the exemption from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. Persons making noninfringing uses of the following six classes of works will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) during the next three years.
1. Audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university’s film or media studies department, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of making compilations of portions of those works for educational use in the classroom by media studies or film professors.
2. Computer programs and video games distributed in formats that have become obsolete and that require the original media or hardware as a condition of access, when circumvention is accomplished for the purpose of preservation or archival reproduction of published digital works by a library or archive. A format shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.
3. Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete. A dongle shall be considered obsolete if it is no longer manufactured or if a replacement or repair is no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace.
4. Literary works distributed in ebook format when all existing ebook editions of the work (including digital text editions made available by authorized entities) contain access controls that prevent the enabling either of the book’s read-aloud function or of screen readers that render the text into a specialized format.
5. Computer programs in the form of firmware that enable wireless telephone handsets to connect to a wireless telephone communication network, when circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.
6. Sound recordings, and audiovisual works associated with those sound recordings, distributed in compact disc format and protected by technological protection measures that control access to lawfully purchased works and create or exploit security flaws or vulnerabilities that compromise the security of personal computers, when circumvention is accomplished solely for the purpose of good faith testing, investigating, or correcting such security flaws or vulnerabilities.
These exemptions went into effect upon publication in the Federal
Register on November 27, 2006, and will remain in effect through October
The Copyright Office is conducting this rulemaking proceeding mandated
by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,
which provides that the Librarian of Congress may exempt certain classes
of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures
that control access to copyrighted works.
The purpose of this proceeding is to determine whether there are particular
classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected
in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention
of access controls. This page contains links to published documents in this
The Notice of Inquiry in this
third anticircumvention rulemaking requests written comments from all interested
parties, including representatives of copyright owners, educational institutions,
libraries and archives, scholars, researchers and members of the public,
in order to elicit evidence on whether noninfringing uses of certain classes
of works are, or are likely to be, adversely affected by this prohibition
on the circumvention of measures that control access to copyrighted works.
Seventy-four such comments were submitted. Interested parties submitted 35 reply comments responsive
to an initial proposed exemption from January 4, 2006, through February 2,
The Copyright Office then held hearings on the
Palo Alto, California: March 23,
Washington, D.C.: March 29, March 31, and April 3
The Copyright Office
published a Federal Register notice inviting
the submission of requests to participate in the Office's hearings on this
issue. The hearing notice gave detailed information on the hearings and
on requesting to testify. Requests were made through an online
Prior Anticircumvention Rulemakings
The entire records of the previous anticircumvention
rulemakings are available. The first rulemaking took place in 2000.
The second was in 2003.