Seventh Triennial Section 1201 Proceeding (2018)
The Copyright Office has initiated the seventh triennial rulemaking proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 1201, which provides that the Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, may adopt temporary exemptions to section 1201’s prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The ultimate goal of the proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be in the next three years, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumventing access controls. When such classes are identified, the Librarian promulgates regulations exempting the classes from the prohibition for the succeeding three-year period. As set forth in its prior notice of inquiry, the Office established a new, streamlined procedure for the renewal of exemptions that were granted during the sixth triennial rulemaking.
With the petition phase concluded, the Office has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking. As discussed in that notice, the Office has now reviewed all renewal petitions and related comments and concludes that it has received a sufficient petition to renew each existing exemption and does not find any meaningful opposition to renewal. Accordingly, the Office intends to recommend readoption of all existing exemptions.
The Office has evaluated the petitions for new or expanded exemptions and grouped them into 12 classes, which are described in greater detail in the notice. The Office is now initiating three rounds of public comment on those classes of exemptions.
The Office is accepting two types of written comments, both of which must be submitted electronically through regulations.gov. First, commenters who wish to briefly express general support for or opposition to a proposed exemption may submit short-form comments electronically directly through regulations.gov. Please note that the short-form comment should identify the specific class of exemption to which the comment pertains. Second, longer submissions for those who wish to provide a full legal and evidentiary basis for their position must be completed using the Office’s long comment form provided at the link above. Additionally, the Office is accepting multimedia evidence submitted in conformity with the Office’s instructions. For more information about how to submit written comments and multimedia evidence, review the Office’s instructions by clicking the “Submission Instructions” link above.
In the first round of comments, which are due December 18, 2017, the Office seeks legal and evidentiary submissions from parties who support the adoption of a proposed exemption, as well as parties that neither support nor oppose an exemption but seek to share pertinent information about a proposal. Responsive legal and evidentiary submissions from those who oppose the adoption of a proposed exemption are due February 12, 2018. Written reply comments from supporters of a proposed exemption and parties that neither support nor oppose a proposed exemption are due March 14, 2018. Commenters must submit a separate comment for each proposed class they wish to address, although commenters may submit comments for more than one class.
Participants in the proceeding are encouraged to familiarize themselves with section 1201(a)(1) and the rulemaking requirements so they can maximize the effectiveness of their submissions. For more information, commenters should carefully review the notice of proposed rulemaking and submission instructions available on this page. Additional background information about section 1201 is available at https://www.copyright.gov/1201/, which contains helpful resources, such as video tutorials, the Office’s recent policy study on section 1201, and links to prior rulemaking proceedings.