Save our Safe Harbor: Submission to Copyright Office on the DMCA Safe Harbor for User Contributions

lighthouseThe United States Copyright Office is seeking feedback on how the “notice and takedown” system created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, also known as the “DMCA Safe Harbors,” is working. Congress decided that in this country, users of the Internet should be allowed to share their ideas with the world via Internet platforms. In order to facilitate this broad goal, Congress established a system that protects platforms from liability for the copyright infringement of their users, as long as the platforms remove material when a copyright holder complains. The DMCA also allows users to challenge improper takedowns.

We filed comments this week, explaining that the DMCA is generally working as Congress intended it to. These provisions allow platforms like the Internet Archive to provide services such as hosting and making available user-generated content without the risk of getting embroiled in lawsuit after lawsuit. We also offered some thoughts on ways the DMCA could work better for nonprofits and libraries, for example, by deterring copyright holders from using the notice and takedown process to silence legitimate commentary or criticism.

The DMCA Safe Harbors, while imperfect, have been essential to the growth of the Internet as an engine for innovation and free expression. We are happy to provide our perspective on this important issue to the Copyright Office.

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2 Responses to Save our Safe Harbor: Submission to Copyright Office on the DMCA Safe Harbor for User Contributions

  1. James Pitts says:

    Thank you for taking action on this issue. I have seen historic cultural and social information affected by takedowns in several projects I’ve worked on.

    One example is rapt.fm, which my friends and I started a way for people to freestyle rap together online. While we did not make it big, we created culture and brought people together. We recorded a number of rap battles, creating videos which we posted to youtube. Many of these were recently taken down and the account suspended due to copyright complaints about the beats we were using, even though the content was fair use. We can’t get access to the content any more and may have lost some history.

    I appreciate what you are doing and hope that this overzealous, history-destroying abuse of laws can be brought to a halt.

  2. Susan Young says:

    I believe that it is the responsibility of any user to verify information obtained from a public source.There is no need for copyright holders to remove any posted information. That amounts to censorship. An unfair ability to remove,(possibly damaging to a particular cause,)facts should not be allowed.

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