Internet Policy Task Force Releases New Green Paper on Copyright Policy

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
July 31, 2013

The U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force today released a green paper titled “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.” The 122-page report provides an analysis of copyright policy since 1995, recommends possible regulatory and legislative actions, and identifies specific policy issues for further discussion and public input. The USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) provided input to the report.

The Internet Policy Task Force reiterated the Obama Administration’s call for action to allow cell phone unlocking by consumers. Today, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bipartisan Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act (H.R. 1123). The bill would restore and extend an exemption to the DMCA to allow consumers, as well as third-parties acting at the request of a consumer, to unlock cell phones for the purpose of allowing the consumer to switch network providers.

The Internet Policy Task Force also recommended the following additional legislative reforms:

  • Updating the libraries and archives exemption in Section 108
  • Updating the Chafee Amendment to ensure access to copyrighted works by people with disabilities
  • Amending the Copyright Act to ensure illegal audio and video streaming can be punished similarly to other types of criminal reproduction and distribution
  • Examining potential legislative adjustments to address mass digitization

The Internet Policy Task Force identified several policy issues for further exploration, discussion, and public input. Here are some of the topics in the report:

  • Fostering voluntary best practices for online enforcement
  • Creating inclusively developed fair use guidelines for various user communities
  • Improving the operation of the DMCA notice and takedown systems
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of voluntary private sector initiatives to combat online infringement
  • Assessing the role for the government to improve the online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive public and private databases of rights information

The Internet Policy Task Force identified five issues in the process of being interpreted by the courts:

  • The meaning of “public performance” in context of new video streaming technologies
  • What constitutes temporary reproductions
  • The scope of distribution rights online
  • The scope of DMCA safe harbors, particularly with respect to repeat infringers
  • The application of “old” contracts to the new digital economy

The full-text of the “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy” is available at: