TLPC Files Three DMCA Comments for Disability Services, Multimedia E-Books, and Security Research

Today, TLPC student attorneys filed three long form comments with the Copyright Office as part of the seventh triennial Section 1201 proceeding. Under Section 1201 of the DMCA, parties may petition the Copyright Office every three years to create or update exemptions when the DMCA adversely affects noninfringing activities.

Sophia Galleher filed a comment to enable better access to films and other copyrighted works for people with disabilities. Susan Miller and Angel Antkers, along with colleagues at the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Art, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic, filed a comment to enable artistic expressions like fan fiction by expanding the allowed uses of multimedia e-books. Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov filed a comment to better protect good faith security researchers.

Disability Services

The TLPC continues its efforts to make copyrighted works more accessible to people with disabilities by filing this comment on behalf of the TLPC’s client, the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-Text Providers (ATSP), as well as the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the American Library Association (ALA), ALA’s Video Round Table the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), and the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). The long form comment requests a new exemption that would allow disability services offices, organizations that support people with disabilities, libraries, and other units at educational institutions to circumvent technological protection measures on videos to make them accessible, including through closed and open captions and audio description. The exemption will allow disability services offices, educational institutions, and libraries to better fulfill their legal and ethical obligations to make visual media more accessible to people with disabilities.

Multimedia E-Books

This long form comment seeks to modify the current nonfiction multimedia e-books exemption to include fictional multimedia e-books, to include multimedia e-books on subjects other than film analysis, and to remove the existing limitation on screen-capture technology. This expansion will enhance authors’ ability to use multimedia in ebooks. The TLPC and UC IPAT teams filed the comment on behalf of the TLPC’s client, Authors Alliance, as well as Professor Bobette Buster, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), and the Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF).

Security Research

This long form comment seeks to protect good faith security researchers from the risk of liability by modifying the current security research exemption to clarify ambiguities and remove limitations. Good faith security researchers protect consumers by identifying and trying to fix vulnerabilities in computer systems. The comment seeks to remove the limitations that chill researchers from conducting research on certain devices and in certain environments. It also seeks to remove limitations that may chill researchers from publishing about, criticizing, or speaking about the security vulnerabilities they may discover. The TLPC filed this comment on behalf of the TLPC’s clients Prof. Ed Felten and Prof. J. Alex Halderman, computer security researchers whose interests include computer security and privacy, software security, Internet security, cybersecurity policy, network security, and data privacy.