U.S. Copyright Office Considers DMCA Exemptions

By Renee Dopplick, ACM Director of Public Policy
January 7, 2015

The U.S. Copyright Office is accepting public input on proposed exemptions to the prohibitions against circumvention under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This process takes place every three years. The deadline for the first round of public submissions of factual and legal support is February 6 and is limited to supporters of the proposed exemptions and those who are neither in support or opposition.

Consistent with the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act enacted into law in 2014, the Copyright Office is considering a proposed cellphone unlocking exemption, as well as additional proposed exemptions for the unlocking of other wireless devices. Additional proposed exemptions include the following:

Audiovisual Works – Education

  • Proposed Class 1: Colleges and Universities
  • Proposed Class 2: Primary and Secondary Schools (K-12)
  • Proposed Class 3: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
  • Proposed Class 4: Educational Programs Operated by Museums, libraries, or Nonprofits

Audiovisual Works – Derivative Uses

  • Proposed Class 5: Multimedia E-Books
  • Proposed Class 6: Filmmaking Uses
  • Proposed Class 7: Noncommercial Remix Videos

Audiovisual Works – Generally

  • Proposed Class 8: Audiovisual Works—Space-Shifting and Format-Shifting

Literary Works Distributed Electronically

  • Proposed Class 9: Assistive Technologies
  • Proposed Class 10: Space-Shifting and Format-Shifting

Unlocking and Interoperability

  • Proposed Class 11: Wireless Telephone Handsets
  • Proposed Class 12: All-Purpose Tablet Computers
  • Proposed Class 13: Mobile Connectivity Devices
  • Proposed Class 14: Wearable Computing Devices
  • Proposed Class 15: Consumer Machines

Jailbreaking to Use Lawfully Obtained Software

  • Proposed Class 16: Wireless Telephone Handsets
  • Proposed Class 17: All-Purpose Mobile Computing Devices
  • Proposed Class 18: Dedicated E-Book Readers
  • Proposed Class 19: Video Game Consoles
  • Proposed Class 20: Smart TVs

Vehicle Software

  • Proposed Class 21: Diagnosis, Repair, or Modification
  • Proposed Class 22: Security and Safety Research

Abandoned Software (e.g. no longer supported)

  • Proposed Class 23: Video Games Requiring Server Communication
  • Proposed Class 24: Music Recording Software

Miscellaneous Software

  • Proposed Class 25: Security Research
  • Proposed Class 26: 3D Printers
  • Proposed Class 27: Networked Medical Devices

For additional information, read the announcement in the Federal Register.