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Fair Use: Library of Congress Announces New Copyright Exemptions

The Librarian of Congress recently announced several new exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  Enacted in 1998, the DMCA typically prohibits the circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted digital works. The Act also includes a provision for the U.S. Copyright Office to hold rulemaking discussions every three years, and to amend rules at its discretion. Some of this year’s new exemptions are as follows:

  • Cell phone owners may legally circumvent technological protections on their devices (this is commonly known as “jailbreaking”) for purposes of switching service providers, or to use applications not officially approved by the phone maker. This impacts iPhone users most notably.
  • Amateur video artists, including students and educators, may legally “rip” brief excerpts from DVDs  in order to created remixed works for “criticism or comment.”
  • Protections on an e-book may be circumvented if no available editions allow for the book to be read aloud with text-to-voice applications or screen readers.

These new rules are being celebrated as a victory for Fair Use advocates.

For more information, see:

Official Announcement from the U.S. Copyright Office

DMCA Rulemaking

Why Fair Use is not Just Acceptable, It’s Essential for the Future

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