U.S. Department of Commerce Green Paper on Updating Copyright Policies for the Internet Age
Comprehensive Analysis Addressing Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy
The U.S. Department of Commerce released a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper) to advance discussion on a set of policy issues critical to economic growth. The Green Paper discusses the goals of maintaining an appropriate balance between rights and exceptions as the law continues to be updated; ensuring that copyright can be meaningfully enforced on the Internet; and furthering the development of an efficient online marketplace.
Copyright has been a vital contributor to U.S. cultural and economic development for more than two hundred years, fostering the production and dissemination of the valuable expression that has put America at the forefront of the global creative marketplace. Maintaining a balanced and effective copyright system should continue to drive the production of creative works while at the same time preserving the innovative power of the Internet and the free flow of information. The Green Paper provides a comprehensive review of current policy related to copyright and the Internet, and identifies important issues that call for attention and development of solutions. The solutions may entail a combination of legal remedies, technology, private sector cooperation, and public outreach and education, along with the continued development of options to legally access copyrighted works.
In the Green Paper, the IPTF proposes the following actions:
* Establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
* Soliciting public comment and convening roundtables on:
-- The legal framework for the creation of remixes;
-- The relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment;
-- The application of statutory damages in the context of individual file-sharers and secondary liability for large-scale online infringement;
-- The appropriate role for the government, if any, to help improve the online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive public and private databases of rights information.
The Green Paper reiterates the administration’s support for legislation creating a public performance right for the broadcasting of sound recordings and enabling prosecutors to seek felony penalties for unauthorized streaming to the public. It supports congressional or regulatory attention to determine how best to rationalize rate-setting standards for different types of music services; reform music licensing, particularly the mechanical license for musical compositions; and ensure consumers can unlock their cell phones, subject to applicable service agreements. It supports the U.S. Copyright Office’s work to address the problems of orphan works and mass digitization, consider possible small claims procedures, update the statutory exception for libraries, and improve public registration and recordation systems. The Green Paper also supports and encourages enhancing public education and outreach efforts.
With respect to the difficulties in enforcement against websites dedicated to infringement, the Green Paper encourages ongoing voluntary initiatives, such as those facilitated by the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), that benefit all parties and are consistent with the principles of privacy, free speech, competition, and due process, and states that the IPTF will follow these developments and assess their impact in order to determine whether additional action is needed. The USPTO has also extended its request for comments regarding the processes, data metrics, and methodologies that could be used to assess the effectiveness of cooperative agreements and other voluntary initiatives to reduce intellectual property infringement. This comment solicitation is part of the Administration’s 2013 Joint Strategic Plan for Intellectual Property Enforcement.
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