U.S. Copyright Office Reopens DMCA Takedown and Safe Harbor Debate, Asks For Comments


dmcaAs if there were not enough scary things already happening in Washington, D.C. this week, the U.S. Copyright Office has opened a new comment period looking for reaction to current DMCA Safe Harbor and takedown regulations.

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As it promised it would earlier this year, the U.S. Copyright Office is reviewing current safe harbor policies that say that YouTube and other internet companies cannot be held liable when their users upload and distribute content without licences, provided that they take it down when informed of the infringement.

To help guide their decision, the Copyright Office has opened a new comment period that it says will provide, “an opportunity for interested parties to reply or expand upon issues raised in written comments (previously) submitted and during the public roundtables held in May. The Copyright Office also invites parties to submit empirical research studies assessing issues related to the operation of the safe harbor provisions on a quantitative or qualitative basis”. 

Take Down, Stay Down

Many in the U.S. music industry have endorsed as “take down, stay down” policy that would slow repeat offenders, and the Copyright office wants to know how that might work.

“Several study participants have proposed some version of a notice-and-stay-down system. Is such a system advisable? Please describe in specific detail how such a system should operate, and include potential legislative language, if appropriate,” read their call for comments. “If it is not advisable, what particular problems would such a system impose? Are there ways to mitigate or avoid those problems? What implications, if any, would such as system have for future online innovation and content creation?”

The deadline for comments is March 8th.

The Copyright Office’s full Federal Register notice is available here (pdf).