The United States Copyright Office has issued a long-awaited report assessing Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 22 years after its passage. When Congress enacted the DMCA in 1998, its intention was to balance the importance of protecting copyright owners from digital piracy against the importance of letting a then-fledgling internet industry grow and thrive.
It is the huge imbalance that has grown since then, favoring what are now immense and lucrative internet platforms, that the Copyright Office targets in its report.
After five years of study with stakeholders from Silicon Valley to Hollywood to Nashville, the U.S. Copyright Office has reached the conclusion that Section 512 lacks the balance Congress originally intended and does not adequately protect creators today.
CreativeFuture CEO Ruth Vitale commends the Copyright Office on their comprehensive and even-handed summation. Says Vitale, “Individual and small business creatives completely understand the gross imbalance of today’s notice and takedown system. They have watched for years as this imbalance has helped the dominant internet platforms become even wealthier while smaller creatives have seen the value of their work bled by piracy. It is long past time for these huge global internet platforms to modernize, simplify, and amplify their approaches to protecting the value of copyrighted works against rampant piracy.
“We sincerely welcome the support of the Copyright Office in calling for improvements to the law. But, no one wants to wait for legislation to fix the problems of Section 512 that they have so articulately detailed in their report. Our community – a community that has been terribly impacted by the work stoppages due to COVID-19 – would rather see the big internet platforms work with us today, as Congress originally envisioned, to do better. The time for improvements is now. These internet platforms must step up and show accountability. They have the power and the technology to fix these problems today. We stand ready to work with them, along with others in the creative industries.”