Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Part 201—GENERAL PROVISIONS
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures


§201.40   Exemptions to prohibition against circumvention.

(a) General. This section prescribes the classes of copyrighted works for which the Librarian of Congress has determined, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(C) and (D), that noninfringing uses by persons who are users of such works are, or are likely to be, adversely affected. The prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works set forth in 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A) shall not apply to such users of the prescribed classes of copyrighted works.

(b) Classes of copyrighted works. Pursuant to the authority set forth in 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(C) and (D), and upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, the Librarian has determined that the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that effectively control access to copyrighted works set forth in 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A) shall not apply to persons who engage in noninfringing uses of the following classes of copyrighted works:

(1) Motion pictures (including television shows and videos), as defined in 17 U.S.C. 101, where the motion picture is lawfully made and acquired on a DVD protected by the Content Scramble System, on a Blu-ray disc protected by the Advanced Access Content System, or via a digital transmission protected by a technological measure, and the person engaging in circumvention under paragraph (b)(1)(i) and (b)(1)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section reasonably believes that non-circumventing alternatives are unable to produce the required level of high-quality content, or the circumvention is undertaken using screen-capture technology that appears to be offered to the public as enabling the reproduction of motion pictures after content has been lawfully acquired and decrypted, where circumvention is undertaken solely in order to make use of short portions of the motion pictures in the following instances:

(i) For the purpose of criticism or comment:

(A) For use in documentary filmmaking, or other films where the motion picture clip is used in parody or for its biographical or historically significant nature;

(B) For use in noncommercial videos (including videos produced for a paid commission if the commissioning entity's use is noncommercial); or

(C) For use in nonfiction multimedia e-books.

(ii) For educational purposes:

(A) By college and university faculty and students or kindergarten through twelfth-grade (K-12) educators and students (where the K-12 student is circumventing under the direct supervision of an educator), including of accredited general educational development (GED) programs, for the purpose of criticism, comment, teaching, or scholarship;

(B) By faculty of massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by accredited nonprofit educational institutions to officially enrolled students through online platforms (which platforms themselves may be operated for profit), in film studies or other courses requiring close analysis of film and media excerpts, for the purpose of criticism or comment, where the MOOC provider through the online platform limits transmissions to the extent technologically feasible to such officially enrolled students, institutes copyright policies and provides copyright informational materials to faculty, students, and relevant staff members, and applies technological measures that reasonably prevent unauthorized further dissemination of a work in accessible form to others or retention of the work for longer than the course session by recipients of a transmission through the platform, as contemplated by 17 U.S.C. 110(2); or

(C) By educators and participants in nonprofit digital and media literacy programs offered by libraries, museums, and other nonprofit entities with an educational mission, in the course of face-to-face instructional activities, for the purpose of criticism or comment, except that such users may only circumvent using screen-capture technology that appears to be offered to the public as enabling the reproduction of motion pictures after content has been lawfully acquired and decrypted.

(2)(i) Motion pictures (including television shows and videos), as defined in 17 U.S.C. 101, where the motion picture is lawfully acquired on a DVD protected by the Content Scramble System, on a Blu-ray disc protected by the Advanced Access Content System, or via a digital transmission protected by a technological measure, where:

(A) Circumvention is undertaken by a disability services office or other unit of a kindergarten through twelfth-grade educational institution, college, or university engaged in and/or responsible for the provision of accessibility services to students, for the purpose of adding captions and/or audio description to a motion picture to create an accessible version as a necessary accommodation for a student or students with disabilities under an applicable disability law, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act;

(B) The educational institution unit in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section has, after a reasonable effort, determined that an accessible version cannot be obtained at a fair price or in a timely manner; and

(C) The accessible versions are provided to students or educators and stored by the educational institution in a manner intended to reasonably prevent unauthorized further dissemination of a work.

(ii) For purposes of this paragraph (b)(2), “audio description” means an oral narration that provides an accurate rendering of the motion picture.

(3) Literary works, distributed electronically, that are protected by technological measures that either prevent the enabling of read-aloud functionality or interfere with screen readers or other applications or assistive technologies:

(i) When a copy of such a work is lawfully obtained by a blind or other person with a disability, as such a person is defined in 17 U.S.C. 121; provided, however, that the rights owner is remunerated, as appropriate, for the price of the mainstream copy of the work as made available to the general public through customary channels; or

(ii) When such work is a nondramatic literary work, lawfully obtained and used by an authorized entity pursuant to 17 U.S.C. 121.

(4) Literary works consisting of compilations of data generated by medical devices that are wholly or partially implanted in the body or by their corresponding personal monitoring systems, where such circumvention is undertaken by a patient for the sole purpose of lawfully accessing the data generated by his or her own device or monitoring system and does not constitute a violation of applicable law, including without limitation the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 or regulations of the Food and Drug Administration, and is accomplished through the passive monitoring of wireless transmissions that are already being produced by such device or monitoring system.

(5) Computer programs that enable the following types of lawfully acquired wireless devices to connect to a wireless telecommunications network, when circumvention is undertaken solely in order to connect to a wireless telecommunications network and such connection is authorized by the operator of such network:

(i) Wireless telephone handsets (i.e., cellphones);

(ii) All-purpose tablet computers;

(iii) Portable mobile connectivity devices, such as mobile hotspots, removable wireless broadband modems, and similar devices; and

(iv) Wearable wireless devices designed to be worn on the body, such as smartwatches or fitness devices.

(6) Computer programs that enable smartphones and portable all-purpose mobile computing devices to execute lawfully obtained software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications with computer programs on the smartphone or device, or to permit removal of software from the smartphone or device. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(6), a “portable all-purpose mobile computing device” is a device that is primarily designed to run a wide variety of programs rather than for consumption of a particular type of media content, is equipped with an operating system primarily designed for mobile use, and is intended to be carried or worn by an individual.

(7) Computer programs that enable smart televisions to execute lawfully obtained software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications with computer programs on the smart television.

(8) Computer programs that enable voice assistant devices to execute lawfully obtained software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications with computer programs on the device, or to permit removal of software from the device, and is not accomplished for the purpose of gaining unauthorized access to other copyrighted works. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(8), a “voice assistant device” is a device that is primarily designed to run a wide variety of programs rather than for consumption of a particular type of media content, is designed to take user input primarily by voice, and is designed to be installed in a home or office.

(9) Computer programs that are contained in and control the functioning of a lawfully acquired motorized land vehicle such as a personal automobile, commercial vehicle, or mechanized agricultural vehicle, except for programs accessed through a separate subscription service, when circumvention is a necessary step to allow the diagnosis, repair, or lawful modification of a vehicle function, where such circumvention does not constitute a violation of applicable law, including without limitation regulations promulgated by the Department of Transportation or the Environmental Protection Agency, and is not accomplished for the purpose of gaining unauthorized access to other copyrighted works.

(10) Computer programs that are contained in and control the functioning of a lawfully acquired smartphone or home appliance or home system, such as a refrigerator, thermostat, HVAC, or electrical system, when circumvention is a necessary step to allow the diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of such a device or system, and is not accomplished for the purpose of gaining access to other copyrighted works. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(10):

(i) The “maintenance” of a device or system is the servicing of the device or system in order to make it work in accordance with its original specifications and any changes to those specifications authorized for that device or system; and

(ii) The “repair” of a device or system is the restoring of the device or system to the state of working in accordance with its original specifications and any changes to those specifications authorized for that device or system.

(11)(i) Computer programs, where the circumvention is undertaken on a lawfully acquired device or machine on which the computer program operates, or is undertaken on a computer, computer system, or computer network on which the computer program operates with the authorization of the owner or operator of such computer, computer system, or computer network, solely for the purpose of good-faith security research and does not violate any applicable law, including without limitation the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.

(ii) For purposes of this paragraph (b)(11), “good-faith security research” means accessing a computer program solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability, where such activity is carried out in an environment designed to avoid any harm to individuals or the public, and where the information derived from the activity is used primarily to promote the security or safety of the class of devices or machines on which the computer program operates, or those who use such devices or machines, and is not used or maintained in a manner that facilitates copyright infringement.

(12)(i) Video games in the form of computer programs embodied in physical or downloaded formats that have been lawfully acquired as complete games, when the copyright owner or its authorized representative has ceased to provide access to an external computer server necessary to facilitate an authentication process to enable gameplay, solely for the purpose of:

(A) Permitting access to the video game to allow copying and modification of the computer program to restore access to the game for personal, local gameplay on a personal computer or video game console; or

(B) Permitting access to the video game to allow copying and modification of the computer program to restore access to the game on a personal computer or video game console when necessary to allow preservation of the game in a playable form by an eligible library, archives, or museum, where such activities are carried out without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and the video game is not distributed or made available outside of the physical premises of the eligible library, archives, or museum.

(ii) Video games in the form of computer programs embodied in physical or downloaded formats that have been lawfully acquired as complete games, that do not require access to an external computer server for gameplay, and that are no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace, solely for the purpose of preservation of the game in a playable form by an eligible library, archives, or museum, where such activities are carried out without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and the video game is not distributed or made available outside of the physical premises of the eligible library, archives, or museum.

(iii) Computer programs used to operate video game consoles solely to the extent necessary for an eligible library, archives, or museum to engage in the preservation activities described in paragraph (b)(12)(i)(B) or (b)(12)(ii) of this section.

(iv) For purposes of this paragraph (b)(12), the following definitions shall apply:

(A) For purposes of paragraph (b)(12)(i)(A) and (b)(12)(ii) of this section, “complete games” means video games that can be played by users without accessing or reproducing copyrightable content stored or previously stored on an external computer server.

(B) For purposes of paragraph (b)(12)(i)(B) of this section, “complete games” means video games that meet the definition in paragraph (b)(12)(iv)(A) of this section, or that consist of both a copy of a game intended for a personal computer or video game console and a copy of the game's code that was stored or previously stored on an external computer server.

(C) “Ceased to provide access” means that the copyright owner or its authorized representative has either issued an affirmative statement indicating that external server support for the video game has ended and such support is in fact no longer available or, alternatively, server support has been discontinued for a period of at least six months; provided, however, that server support has not since been restored.

(D) “Local gameplay” means gameplay conducted on a personal computer or video game console, or locally connected personal computers or consoles, and not through an online service or facility.

(E) A library, archives, or museum is considered “eligible” when the collections of the library, archives, or museum are open to the public and/or are routinely made available to researchers who are not affiliated with the library, archives, or museum.

(13)(i) Computer programs, except video games, that have been lawfully acquired and that are no longer reasonably available in the commercial marketplace, solely for the purpose of lawful preservation of a computer program, or of digital materials dependent upon a computer program as a condition of access, by an eligible library, archives, or museum, where such activities are carried out without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and the program is not distributed or made available outside of the physical premises of the eligible library, archives, or museum.

(ii) For purposes of the exemption in paragraph (b)(13)(i) of this section, a library, archives, or museum is considered “eligible” if—

(A) The collections of the library, archives, or museum are open to the public and/or are routinely made available to researchers who are not affiliated with the library, archives, or museum;

(B) The library, archives, or museum has a public service mission;

(C) The library, archives, or museum's trained staff or volunteers provide professional services normally associated with libraries, archives, or museums;

(D) The collections of the library, archives, or museum are composed of lawfully acquired and/or licensed materials; and

(E) The library, archives, or museum implements reasonable digital security measures as appropriate for the activities permitted by this paragraph (b)(13).

(14) Computer programs that operate 3D printers that employ microchip-reliant technological measures to limit the use of feedstock, when circumvention is accomplished solely for the purpose of using alternative feedstock and not for the purpose of accessing design software, design files, or proprietary data.

(c) Persons who may initiate circumvention. To the extent authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, the circumvention of a technological measure that restricts wireless telephone handsets or other wireless devices from connecting to a wireless telecommunications network may be initiated by the owner of any such handset or other device, by another person at the direction of the owner, or by a provider of a commercial mobile radio service or a commercial mobile data service at the direction of such owner or other person, solely in order to enable such owner or a family member of such owner to connect to a wireless telecommunications network, when such connection is authorized by the operator of such network.


[65 FR 64574, Oct. 27, 2000, as amended at 68 FR 62018, Oct. 31, 2003; 71 FR 68479, Nov. 27, 2006; 74 FR 55139, Oct. 27, 2009; 75 FR 43839, July 27, 2010; 75 FR 47465, Aug. 6, 2010; 77 FR 65278, Oct. 26, 2012; 79 FR 50553, Aug. 25, 2014; 80 FR 65961, Oct. 28, 2015; 83 FR 54028, Oct. 26, 2018]


Source: GPO Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) (ecfr.gov)
Data current as of December 11, 2018