U.S. Copyright Office Invites Petitions for 2015 DMCA Rulemaking

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
September 30, 2014

The U.S. Copyright Office is accepting petitions for the triennial rulemaking proceedings to determine exemptions to the anti-circumvention prohibitions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The deadline for petitions is November 3.

To help enhance public understanding of the process and its evidentiary requirements, the U.S. Copyright Office has changed the procedures to lower the burden during the first step of submitting a petition. Parties still need to provide a statement on the requested proposed exemption, describing the specific class or category of copyrighted works, the technological protections measures that prevent access, the noninfringing uses that would be facilitated by circumvention, and how the inability to circumvent adversely affects proposed noninfringing uses. However, parties no longer need to submit the full legal and factual support with the initial petition.

Consistent with the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act enacted into law earlier this year, the Copyright Office will consider any proposal for a cellphone unlocking exemption. The Copyright Office invites proposals to expand the unlocking exemption to other wireless devices but urges parties to provide an “appropriate level of specificity,” noting that the exemption may vary across the different types of wireless devices.

The U.S. Copyright Office will consider and consolidate the petitions before publishing the list of proposed exemptions and inviting submissions of legal and evidentiary support. All petitions will be posted online to allow parties to coordinate their efforts in later proceedings.

For additional information, read the Federal Register announcement: Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies.