Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Librarian of Congress issues exemptions; amius brief filed in court case

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA members are ALA, ARL, and ACRL) applauds yesterday’s decision issued by the Librarian of Congress to significantly broaden the exemption for the creation of film clip compilations for classroom and educational use to all college and university faculty, regardless of academic discipline. According to Section 1201 (a) (1) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Librarian of Congress is allowed once every three years to adopt exceptions to the anti-circumvention provisions that place technological protections on copyrighted works.

In this latest round of exemptions, the Librarian of Congress, acting on the Register of Copyright’s recommendations, ruled in accordance to the LCA’s requests to expand the exemption beyond only faculty who teach film or media studies. The new rule also applies to university film and media students. It now allows circumvention to incorporate short portions into new works for the purpose of criticism or comment, not just the assembly of clip compilations for in-class screening purposes. Read more in the full press release.

Also, LCA joined a coalition of public interest and technology groups in an amicus curie or “friend of the court” brief written by the Electronic Frontier Foundation asking the Ninth Circuit to reject the arguments made by Universal Music Group (UMG) and affirm the lower court’s decision in UMG v. Veoh. In its original decision, the district court found that the DMCA protected Veoh, a Web-hosting service, against infringement claims brought by UMG, which appealed the decision. DMCA established a vital safe harbor for online service providers such as YouTube, Amazon, e-Bay, and other services, as well as non-commercial entities such as colleges and universities who provide Internet services to the academic community.