PublishedMarch 12, 2014

U.S. House Subcommittee To Review Copyright Law Critical To U.S. Economy

Washington – As part of its ongoing review of U.S. copyright law, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Internet is holding a hearing Thursday on the legal framework that supports both copyright holders and Internet service providers.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbors sought to balance access to information online with rightsholders’ request that Internet services police the Internet for copyright violations. The DMCA’s safe harbors (referred to as “Section 512”) limit Internet services’ liability for what users post online – so long as they quickly remove material when alerted to possible copyright infringement. This law has become so important to the U.S. economy that it is now added into our free trade and trade promotion agreements.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association is a longtime supporter of balanced copyright rules, including the safe harbors. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“We are pleased to see Congress undertaking a review of U.S. copyright law – including provisions like the DMCA safe harbors, which have provided the legal framework for economic growth online.   We’ve come a long way from the disastrous SOPA legislation, which would have put companies in a position to censor Internet content or block users from posting material.

“The DMCA safe harbors have long stood as a pillar of good Internet policy.  The system isn’t without its faults, which is why Congress would do well to shine a light on DMCA abuse, when the law is used to censor free speech and suppress competition.  Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the safe harbors in promoting the Internet and online commerce is a legislative success that Congress should be proud of.”

For information on common misconceptions about the DMCA, see CCIA’s copyright expert Matt Schruers DisCo blog post:  http://www.project-disco.org/intellectual-property/31214-5-misconceptions-were-likely-to-hear-at-tomorrows-dmca-hearing/

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