Press Release

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Cara Duckworth


Long-awaited examination of U.S. Internet policy reveals “significant problems” in effectiveness, lack of balance to detriment of creators

Maria Pallante, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), offered the following comment on the comprehensive report issued today by the United States Copyright Office on Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a 1998 law that provides the framework for liability, safe harbors, notice requirements, and other factors applicable to establishing and resolving online copyright infringement.

“We thank the Copyright Office for its comprehensive examination of the DMCA’s provisions and operations, and the expertise and thoughtfulness that is reflected throughout the lengthy analysis. As we work through the many details of the report, we greatly appreciate that the Office invited and compiled an exhaustive public record over a period of nearly five years, which includes the comments and testimony of AAP on behalf of American publishers.

“In particular, we are pleased the report concludes that ‘the balance Congress intended when it established the section 512 safe harbor system is askew,’ and underscores that ‘authors, creators, and rightsholders of all sorts and sizes’ do not agree with online service providers that the current operation of 512 meets the original objectives of Congress. When it acted more than 20 years ago, Congress intended to ensure the Internet – then a nascent means of commerce – would support a fair, modern, and global copyright marketplace for American businesses, to the benefit of the public.

“At the time of the DMCA’s enactment, Congress could not have envisioned the manner in which bad actors would establish websites that exploit and promote infringing uses of intellectual property while attempting to take advantage of safe harbor immunities under the law. Unfortunately, as the Copyright Office points out, immunity has been extended to ‘activities and service providers that Congress did not intend to protect.’

“This report reinforces that the broken notice and takedown system in the U.S. – also known as ‘whack-a-mole’ – has placed unfair burdens on the creative industries, which contribute more than $1 trillion in value to the U.S. economy and employ more than 5.7 million workers. We fully agree with the Copyright Office that ‘despite the advances in legitimate content options and delivery systems, and despite the millions of takedown notices submitted on a daily basis, the scale of online copyright infringement and the lack of effectiveness of section 512 notices to address that situation remain significant problems.’

“We are committed to finding solutions to these problems, and we stand ready to continue to work with the Copyright Office, other stakeholders, and Congress as we seek to establish a 21st century Internet policy that works for everyone.”

The U.S. Copyright Office’s report can be found here.

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