Copyright Office Grants IP Clinic Petition For Renewal of Section 1201 Exemptions to Circumvention

Washington College of Law’s Glushko-Samuelson IP Clinic successfully filed two petitions for renewal of exemptions for circumvention provisions in Section 1201 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) on behalf of Joint Educators such as Peter Decherney, Professor of Cinema Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, Katherine Sender, Michael X. Delli Carpini, Professor and Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, the College Art Association (CAA), the International Communication Association (ICA), and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), and the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA).

By granting the petitions filed by the IP clinic, the Copyright Office recognized the value of exempting fairly used audiovisual works for college and university educational uses. Specifically, today’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making states that with respect to the petition for exempting the use of motion pictures for colleges and professors there was strong evidence to support continuing the useful exemption:

“The petitions demonstrated the continuing need and justification for the exemption, and personal knowledge and experience with regard to this exemption. For example, Joint Educators, AAUP, DCSUM, and LCA stated that courses on video essays (or multimedia or videographer criticism), now taught at many universities, would not be able to exist without relying on this exemption. Without this exemption, Joint Educators, AAUP, DCSUM, and LCA assert that educators would be ‘unable to provide an enriching and accurate description and analysis of cinematic or other audiovisual works when prevented from accessing such works due to Technological Protection Measure[s] ‘—and their declarant, Professor Decherney, has personally relied upon this exemption to teach a course on multimedia criticism … Based on the information provided in the renewal petition … the Register believes that the conditions that led to adoption of this exemption are likely to continue during the next triennial period. Accordingly, the Register intends to recommend renewal of this exemption.”

Additionally, the NPRM recognized the value of continuing the second exemption that the IP Clinic petitioned to renew – the exemption for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs):

“Joint Educators, ICA, DCSUM, SCMS, and LCA petitioned to renew the exemption for motion pictures for educational uses in massive open online courses (“MOOCs”) (codified at 37 CFR 201.40(b)(1)(v))…. The petition demonstrated the continuing need and justification for the exemption, stating that instructors continue to rely on the exemption to develop, provide, and improve MOOCs, as well as increase the number of (and therefore access to) MOOCs in the field of film and media studies. In addition, the declarant, Professor Decherney, demonstrated personal knowledge by describing his reliance on the exemption to teach MOOCs on film and media studies, as well as his past participation in the 1201 triennial rulemaking, along with Professor Carpini, ICA, SCMS, and LCA. Based on the information provided in the renewal petition and the lack of opposition, the Register believes that the conditions that led to adoption of this exemption are likely to continue during the next triennial period. Accordingly, the Register intends to recommend renewal of this exemption.”

Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also set forth the deadlines for submitting comments in support of proposed new exemptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA. The IP Clinic, led by student team Melanie Singer and Allisa Logan submitted a petition for a proposed new exemption to 1201 circumvention rules and are currently working with Decherney and Joint Educators to file comments in support of a new exemption that would ensure access to all digital educational opportunities for students in the new digital economy.

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