U.S. Copyright Office Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Eighth Triennial Proceeding Under Section 1201
Issue No. 855 - October 15, 2020

The Copyright Office has published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the eighth triennial proceeding under section 1201 of Title 17. Section 1201 generally makes it unlawful to circumvent technological measures used by copyright owners to prevent unauthorized access to their works. Through the triennial rulemaking, the Librarian of Congress may, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, temporarily exempt certain classes of works from the statutory prohibition.

For the second consecutive rulemaking, the Office conducted a streamlined procedure to allow members of the public to request renewal of exemptions that were granted in the last proceeding. Based on the renewal petitions received and the lack of meaningful opposition, the Office intends to recommend readoption of all existing exemptions.

In addition, the notice outlines seventeen proposed classes of exemptions and initiates three rounds of public comment. Comments supporting adoption of a proposed exemption, as well as comments that neither support nor oppose an exemption, are due December 14, 2020. Comments in opposition are due February 9, 2021. Reply comments from supporters of a proposed exemption and parties who neither support nor oppose an exemption are due March 10, 2021.

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.