The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 2007 “dancing baby” case dates back to a takedown of a home video of a toddler. An appeals court ruled that content owners must consider fair use, but also suggested that takedown software would pass muster.
The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act is the law that allows content owners to remove copyrighted material from the Internet, and it’s made just about no one happy. Content owners are bitter that their material tends to keep popping up, even when they’ve asked for it to be removed hundreds or even thousands of times. Internet platforms that host large amounts of user-generated content must cope with millions of infringement allegations, mass-produced by software. When those algorithms make mistakes, it’s often users who pay the price—told they’re copyright scofflaws because there was background music in their home video or they shared a photo of a toy they bought.
If you’re feeling down about the DMCA this winter—or feeling just skippy about it—there’s a government agency that wants to hear from you. On December 31, the US Copyright Office said it intends to take public comments about the effectiveness of the DMCA and its “safe harbor” provisions.
The comments will be part of a “public study to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the safe harbor provisions” of the DMCA. Questions that the office wants to consider include:
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