When online services have infringing movies, music, books, or other works placed there by their users, what should they be required to do? In 1998, Congress passed a statute (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that created a notice-and-takedown system: online service providers (OSPs) would disable access to infringing works when they knew about them through a proper notice from a copyright holder, or when the service provider has actual knowledge or is aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent, and in return would face a limitation on remedies in the event that a copyright infringement suit was filed. Of course, the internet looks very different now than it did in 1998. The early offerings of CompuServe and AOL pale in comparison to modern cloud computing services. Works can be placed back online within seconds of an OSP taking them down, and a single web site can receive thousands of notices for the same work in a ...
t seems the Copyright Office has one more gift to give before the end of the holiday season. Tomorrow, the Federal Register will issue a Notice of Inquiry to assess the operation of section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,17 U.S.C. § 1201. That provision prohibits the circumvention of technological measures designed to prevent unauthorized access to copyrighted works, and forbids people from trafficking in technologies designed to crack those measures. Section 1201 also contains a triennial rulemaking proceeding that permitted the Librarian of Congress to issue exemptions (on the Register’s recommendation) for certain classes of works if the proponents of that exemption could make an evidentiary showing that the presence of the circumvention ban was interfering with noninfringing uses.