Section 1201 Exemptions to Prohibition Against Circumvention of Technological Measures Protecting Copyrighted Works

Eighth Triennial Section 1201 Proceeding, 2021 Cycle

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), codified in part in Title 17, section 1201, of the United States Code, generally makes it unlawful to circumvent technological measures used to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted works, including copyrighted books, movies, videos, video games, and computer software. Section 1201, however, also directs the Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights following a rulemaking proceeding, to determine whether the prohibition on circumvention is having, or is likely to have, an adverse effect on users’ ability to make noninfringing uses of particular classes of copyrighted works. Upon such a determination, the Librarian may adopt limited temporary exemptions waiving the general prohibition against circumvention for such users for the ensuing three-year period.

The Copyright Office has concluded the eighth triennial rulemaking proceeding pursuant to Title 17, section 1201, of the United States Code. This page contains links to the Register's Recommendation, the final rule announcing the exemptions; and the recommendation letter submitted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce. The right-hand side of this page also provides links to the record materials in this proceeding, including the petitions for exemptions, written public comments, transcripts and video recordings of the public hearings, and post-hearing materials.

Additional background information and resources regarding section 1201, including video tutorials, the Office’s recent policy study on section 1201, and links to prior rulemaking proceedings, are available here.