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Proposed Rule

Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies

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AGENCY:

Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION:

Notice of inquiry.

SUMMARY:

The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is preparing to conduct proceedings in accordance with provisions added by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which provide that the Librarian of Congress may exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The purpose of this rulemaking proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention. This notice requests written comments from all interested parties, including representatives of copyright owners, educational institutions, libraries and archives, scholars, researchers and members of the public, in order to elicit evidence on whether noninfringing uses of certain classes of works are, or are likely to be, adversely affected by this prohibition on the circumvention of measures that control access to copyrighted works.

DATES:

Written comments must be received no later than December 2, 2008. A notice of proposed rulemaking will be published in December 2008 that will identify proposed classes of works and solicit comments on those proposed classes, which will be due no later than February 2, 2009.

ADDRESSES:

Electronic submissions should be made through the Copyright Office website: http://www.copyright.gov/​1201/​comment-forms;​ see section 3 of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for file formats and other information about electronic and non-electronic filing requirements. If a non-electronic submission is hand delivered by a private party, an original and ten copies of any comment must be delivered to Room LM-401 of the James Madison Memorial Building between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. and the envelope should be addressed as follows: Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office, James Madison Memorial Building, Room LM-401, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20559-6000. If hand delivered by a commercial courier, an original and ten copies of any comment must be delivered to the Congressional Courier Acceptance Site located at Second and D Streets, NE., Washington, DC, between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Copyright Office General Counsel, Room LM-403, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue, SE., Washington DC. If delivered by means of the United States Postal Service (see section 3 of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION about continuing delays), comments should be addressed to Copyright GC/I&R, PO Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024-0400. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for information about requirements and formats of submissions. Comments may not be delivered by means of overnight delivery services such as Federal Express, United Parcel Service, etc., due to delays in processing receipt of such deliveries.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Robert Kasunic, Principal Legal Advisor, Office of the General Counsel, Copyright GC/I&R, PO Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024-0400. Telephone: (202) 707-8380; telefax: (202) 707-8366.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1. Mandate for Rulemaking Proceeding

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Pub. L. 105-304 (1998), amended title 17 of the United States Code to add Chapter 12, which among other things prohibits circumvention of access control technologies employed by or on behalf of copyright owners to protect their works.

Specifically, subsection 1201(a)(1)(A) provides, inter alia, that “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.”

Subparagraph (B) limits this prohibition. It provides that prohibition against circumvention “shall not apply to persons who are users of a copyrighted work which is in a particular class of works, if such persons are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by virtue of such prohibition in their ability to make noninfringing uses of that particular class of works under this title” as determined in this rulemaking.Start Printed Page 58074

Subparagraph (C) provides that every three years, the Librarian of Congress, upon the ecommendation of the Register of Copyrights (who is to consult with the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information of the Department of Commerce) must “make the determination in a rulemaking proceeding for purposes of subparagraph (B) of whether persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be in the succeeding 3-year period, adversely affected by the prohibition under subparagraph (A) in their ability to make noninfringing uses under this title of a particular class of copyrighted works.” The Librarian, on the recommendation of the Register, has thus far made three determinations as to classes of works to be exempted from the prohibition. The exemptions promulgated by the Librarian in the first rulemaking were in effect for the 3-year period from October 28, 2000, through October 28, 2003. See Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies, 65 FR 64556, 64564 (2000) (hereinafter Final Reg. 2000). On October 28, 2003, the Librarian of Congress published the second determination as to classes of works to be exempted from the prohibition. Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies, 68 FR 62011, 62013 (2003) (hereinafter Final Reg. 2003). The four exemptions created in the second anticircumvention rulemaking remained in effect for a 3-year period. On November 27, 2006, the Librarian of Congress published the third determination. Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies, 71 FR 68472, 68480 (2006) (hereinafter Final Reg. 2006). The six exemptions established in the third anticircumvention rulemaking will remain in effect until October 28, 2009. All three of the previous determinations by the Librarian of Congress were made upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights following extensive rulemaking proceedings. This notice announces the initiation of the fourth section 1201 rulemaking required under 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(C).

2. Background

Title I of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was, inter alia, the congressional fulfillment of obligations of the United States under the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. For additional information on the historical background and the legislative history of Title I, see Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies, 64 FR 66139, 66140 (1999) [http://www.loc.gov/​copyright/​fedreg/​1999/​64fr66139.html].

Section 1201 of title 17 of the United States Code prohibits two general types of activity: (1) the conduct of “circumvention” of technological protection measures that control access to copyrighted works and (2) trafficking in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof that protects either “access” to a copyrighted work or that protects the “rights of the copyright owner,” if that device or service meets one of three conditions. The first type of activity, the conduct of circumvention, is prohibited in section 1201(a)(1). The latter activities, trafficking in devices or services that circumvent “access” or “the rights of the copyright owner,” are contained in sections 1201(a)(2) and 1201(b) respectively. In addition to these prohibitions, section 1201 also includes a series of section-specific limitations and exemptions to the prohibitions of section 1201.

A. The Anticircumvention Provision at Issue

Subsection 1201(a)(1) applies when a person who is not authorized by the copyright owner to gain access to a work does so by circumventing a technological measure put in place with the authority of the copyright owner to control access to the work. See the Report of the House Committee on Commerce on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, H.R. Rep. No. 105-551, pt. 2, at 36 (1998) (hereinafter Commerce Comm. Report).

That section provides that “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.” 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A) (1998).

The relevant terms are defined:

(3) As used in this subsection-

(A) to “circumvent a technological measure” means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and

(B) a technological measure “effectively controls access to a work” if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work. 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(3).

B. Scope of the Rulemaking

The statutory focus of this rulemaking is limited to one subsection of section 1201: the prohibition on the conduct of circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(C) [http://www.copyright.gov/​title17/​92chap12.html#1201]. The Librarian of Congress has no authority to limit either of the anti-trafficking provisions contained in subsections 1201(a)(2) or 1201(b). 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(E). Moreover, for a proposed exemption to be considered in this rulemaking, there must be a causal connection between the prohibition in 1201(a)(1) and the adverse effect on noninfringing uses.

This rulemaking addresses only the prohibition on the conduct of circumventing measures that control “access” to copyrighted works, e.g., decryption or hacking of access controls such as passwords or serial numbers. The structure of section 1201 is such that there exists no comparable prohibition on the conduct of circumventing technological measures that protect the “rights of the copyright owner,” e.g., the section 106 rights to reproduce, adapt, distribute, publicly perform, or publicly display a work. Circumventing a technological measure that protects these section 106 rights of the copyright owner is governed not by section 1201, but rather by the traditional copyright rights and the applicable limitations in the Copyright Act. For example, if a person having lawful access to a work circumvents a measure that prohibits printing or saving an electronic copy of an article, there is no provision in section 1201 that precludes this activity. Instead, it would be actionable as copyright infringement of the section 106 right of reproduction unless an applicable limitation applied, e.g., fair use. The trafficking in, inter alia, any device or service that enabled others to circumvent such a technological protection measure may, however, be actionable under section 1201(b).

On the other hand, because there is a prohibition on the act of circumventing a technological measure that controls access to a work, and since traditional Copyright Act limitations are not defenses to the act of circumventing a technological measure that controls access, Congress chose to create the current rulemaking proceeding as a “fail-safe mechanism” to monitor the effect of the anticircumvention provision in section 1201(a)(1)(A). Commerce Comm. Report, at 36. This anticircumvention rulemaking is Start Printed Page 58075authorized to monitor the effect of the prohibition against “access” circumvention on noninfringing uses of copyrighted works. In this triennial rulemaking proceeding, effects on noninfringing uses that are unrelated to section 1201(a)(1)(A) may not be considered. 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(C).

C. Burden of Proof

In the first rulemaking, the Register concluded from the language of the statute and the legislative history that a determination to exempt a class of works from the prohibition on circumvention must be based on a showing that the prohibition has or is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on noninfringing uses of a particular class of works. It was determined that proponents of an exemption bear the burden of proof that an exemption is warranted for a particular class of works and that the prohibition is presumed to apply to all classes of works unless an adverse impact has been shown. See Commerce Comm. Report, at 37 and see also, Final Reg. 2000, 65 FR at 64558.

The “substantial” adverse requirement has also been described as a requirement that the proponent of an exemption must demonstrate “distinct, verifiable, and measurable impacts,” and more than “de minimis impacts.” See Final Reg. 2003, 68 FR at 62013. Whatever label one uses, proponents of an exemption bear the burden of providing sufficient evidence under this standard to support an exemption. How much evidence is sufficient will vary with the factual context of the alleged harm. Further, proof of harm is never the only consideration in the rulemaking process, and therefore the sufficiency of the evidence of harm will always be relative to other considerations, such as, the availability of the affected works for use, the availability of the works for nonprofit archival, preservation, and educational purposes, the impact that the prohibition has on criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research, the effect of circumvention on the market for or value of copyrighted works, and any other relevant factors.

In order to meet the burden of proof, proponents of an exemption must provide evidence either that actual harm currently exists or that it is “likely” to occur in the ensuing 3-year period. Actual instances of verifiable problems occurring in the marketplace are generally necessary in order to prove actual harm. The most compelling cases of actual harm will be based on first-hand knowledge of such problems. Circumstantial evidence may also support a claim of present or likely harm, but such evidence must also reasonably demonstrate that a measure protecting access was the cause of the harm and that the adversely affected use was, in fact, noninfringing. “Likely” adverse effects may also support an exemption. This standard of “likelihood” requires proof that adverse effects are more likely than not to occur. Claims based on “likely” adverse effects cannot be supported by speculation alone. See Staff of House Committee on the Judiciary, 105th Cong., Section-By-Section Analysis of H.R. 2281 as Passed by the United States House of Representatives on August 4, 1998, (hereinafter House Manager’s Report), at 6, (an exemption based on “likely” future adverse impacts during the applicable period should only be made “in extraordinary circumstances in which the evidence of likelihood is highly specific, strong and persuasive.”). Conjecture alone is insufficient to support a finding of “likely” adverse effect. Final Reg. 2000, 65 FR at 64559. Although a showing of “likely” adverse impact will necessarily involve prediction, the burden of proving that the expected adverse effect is more likely than other possible outcomes rests firmly on the proponent of the exemption.

The identification of existing or likely problems is not, however, the end of the analysis. In order for an exemption of a particular class of works to be warranted, a proponent must show that such problems justify an exemption in light of all of the relevant facts. The identification of isolated or anecdotal problems will be generally insufficient to warrant an exemption. Similarly, the mere fact that the digital format would be more convenient to use for noninfringing purposes is generally insufficient factual support for an exemption. Further, purely theoretical critiques of section 1201 cannot satisfy the requisite showing. House Manager’s Report, at 6. Proponents of exemptions must show sufficient harm to warrant an exemption from the default rule established by Congress - the prohibition against circumvention.

There is a presumption that the section 1201 prohibition will apply to any and all classes of works, including previously exempted classes, unless a new showing is made that an exemption is warranted. Final Reg. 2000, 65 FR at 64558. Exemptions are reviewed de novo and prior exemptions will expire unless sufficient new evidence is presented in each rulemaking that the prohibition has or is likely to have an adverse effect on noninfringing uses. The facts and argument that supported an exemption during any given 3-year period may be insufficient within the context of the marketplace in a different 3-year period. Similarly, proposals that were not found to justify an exemption in any particular rulemaking could find factual support in the context and on the record of another rulemaking.

Evidence in support or in opposition to an exemption should be contained in the initial comments or, after publication of the proposed classes in the Federal Register, in the comments on the proposed exemptions. The purpose of this rulemaking is to survey interested parties in the digital environment to discover whether section 1201(a)(1) is adversely affecting noninfringing uses of particular classes of copyrighted works. The proposals received in the initial comments will frame the inquiry throughout the rest of the rulemaking process. The comments submitted in response to this Notice of Inquiry will be posted on the Copyright Office website shortly after submission, and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking identifying the classes of works proposed will be published in the Federal Register shortly thereafter.[1] The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will invite copyright owners and other interested parties to offer their comments in support of or opposition to the proposed classes. Comments responsive to the proposed classes may also propose modest refinements to the proposed classes and supply additional evidence, but may not propose completely new classes of works. Since opponents to exemptions have only one comment period to provide written responses to the exemptions proposed, opponents should have sufficient notice of the exemptions to be addressed in the rulemaking. Copyright owners and other interested parties, however, should be vigilant in monitoring classes proposed in the initial comment period that may implicate their interests as such classes may be further refined in the ensuing rulemaking process.

The Office will post all of the comments, hearing transcripts, and other relevant material in this rulemaking proceeding, as the Office has done since the inception of this rulemaking proceeding, on the Copyright Office’s website at: www.copyright.gov/​1201.[2]

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The Copyright Office will also conduct a series of hearings on the proposed exemptions in the Spring in Washington, DC and at a location or locations to be determined in California. These hearings will offer proponents and opponents of exemptions an opportunity to present arguments and answer questions from the Register and her staff. These hearings-the time, date and subject matter of which will be announced early in 2009-will not provide a forum in which to raise new proposals or to submit wholly new evidence. Evidence that demonstrates how a technological measure operates and affects noninfringing uses as well as evidence that is responsive to earlier disputes raised in the comment process is welcomed, and is encouraged, at these hearings. However, the hearings may not be used as a vehicle for surprise or to present untimely proposals.

The Register is also likely to pose post-hearing questions to specific parties or witnesses that participated in the rulemaking proceeding. These questions have historically sought clarification of legal and factual questions, including specific requests to explain the operation of a technological measure at issue. Such post-hearing questions should not be construed as a general public post-hearing comment phase-there simply will not be sufficient time to consider another round of general public comments by the statutory deadline for the announcement of the newly exempted classes-but rather are invitations addressed to specific witnesses who have offered testimony on an issue to provide further clarification in response to specific questions from the Register. The questions and the responses to the questions will be posted on the Copyright Office’s website after the responses have been received.

D. Availability of Works in Unprotected Formats

Other statutory considerations must also be balanced with evidence of adverse effects attributable to the prohibition. In making her recommendation to the Librarian, the Register is instructed to consider the availability for use of copyrighted works. 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(C)(i). This inquiry demands that the Register consider whether “works” protected by technological measures that control access are also available in the marketplace in formats that are unprotected. The fact that a “work” (in contrast to a particular “copy” of a work) is available in a format without technological protection measures may be significant because the unprotected formats might allow the public to make noninfringing uses of the work even though other formats of the work would not. For example, in the first rulemaking, many users claimed that the technological measures on motion pictures contained on Digital Versatile Disks (DVDs) restricted noninfringing uses of the motion pictures. A balancing consideration was that the record revealed at that time that the vast majority of these works were also available in analog format on VHS tapes. Final Reg. 2000, 65 FR at 64568. Thus, the full range of availability of a work for use is necessary to consider in assessing the need for an exemption to the prohibition on circumvention.

Another consideration relating to the availability for use of copyrighted works is whether the measure supports a distribution model that benefits the public generally. For example, while a measure may limit the length of time that a work may be accessed (time-limited) or may limit the scope of access (scope-limited), e.g., access to only a portion of work, those limitations may benefit the public by providing “use-facilitating” models that allow users to obtain access to works at a lower cost than they would otherwise be charged were such restrictions not in place. If there is sufficient evidence that particular classes of works would not be offered at all without the protection afforded by technological protection measures that control access, this evidence must be considered. House Manager’s Report, at 6. Accord, Final Reg. 2000, 65 FR at 64559. Thus, the Register’s inquiry must assess any benefits to the public resulting from the prohibition as well as the adverse effects that may be established.

E. The Scope of the Term “Class of Works”

Section 1201 does not define a critical term for the rulemaking process: a “class of works.” With respect to this issue and others, commenters should familiarize themselves with the Register’s recommendation and the Librarian’s determination in the first rulemaking and in the subsequent two rulemakings, since many of the issues which were unsettled at the start of the first rulemaking have been addressed and developed in the three determinations. While the approach taken in resolving the issues raised in these rulemakings may continue to develop in this and subsequent proceedings, interested parties should assume that the standards developed thus far will continue to apply in the current proceeding. Of course, commenters may argue for adoption of alternative approaches,[3] but a persuasive case will have to be made to warrant reconsideration of previous decisions regarding interpretation of section 1201.

In the first rulemaking, the Register elicited views on the scope and meaning of the term “class of works.” After review of the statutory language, the legislative history and the extensive record in the proceeding [see Final Reg., 65 FR at 64557 for a description of the record in the last rulemaking proceeding], the Register reached certain conclusions on the scope of this term. [For a more detailed discussion, see Final Reg., 65 FR at 64559.]

The Register found that the statutory language required that the Librarian identify a “class of works” primarily based upon attributes of the works themselves, and not by reference to some external criteria such as the intended use or the users of the works. The phrase “class of works” connotes that the shared, common attributes of the “class” relate to the nature of authorship in the “works.” Thus a “class of works” was intended to be a “narrow and focused subset of the broad categories of works of authorship *** identified in section 102.” Commerce Comm. Report, at 38. The starting point for a proposed exemption of a particular class of works must be the section 102 categories of authorship: literary works; musical works; dramatic works; pantomimes and choreographic works; pictorial, graphic and sculptural works; motion pictures and other audiovisual works; sound recordings; and architectural works.

This determination is supported by the House Manager’s Report which discussed the importance of appropriately defining the proper scope of the exemption. House Manager’s Report, at 7. The legislative history stated that it would be highly unlikely for all literary works to be adversely affected by the prohibition and therefore, determining an appropriate subcategory of the works in this category would be the goal of the rulemaking. Id.

Therefore, the Register concluded that the starting point for identifying a particular “class of works” to be exempted must be one of the section 102 categories. Final Reg., 65 FR at Start Printed Page 5807764559-64561. From that starting point, it is likely that the scope or boundaries of a particular class would need to be further limited to remedy the particular harm to noninfringing uses identified in the rulemaking.

In the first anticircumvention rulemaking, the Register recommended and the Librarian agreed that two classes of works should be exempted:

1) Compilations consisting of lists of websites blocked by filtering software applications; and

2) Literary works, including computer programs and databases, protected by access control mechanisms that fail to permit access because of malfunction, damage or obsoleteness.

While the first class exempted fits comfortably within the approach to classification discussed above, the second class includes the entire category of literary works, but narrows the exemption by reference to attributes of the technological measures that controls access to the works.

In the 2006 rulemaking, the Register determined that a further refinement of the approach to determining a particular class of works was warranted. Even though a class must begin, as its starting point, by reference to one of the categories of authorship enumerated in section 102 of the Copyright Act (or some subset thereof), that class should be further tailored to address the harm (actual or likely) alleged. The proper tailoring of a class will depend on the specific facts, but in some cases, the most appropriate manner of further tailoring the category or sub-category may be to limit the class in relation to particular uses or users.

The impetus for this refinement was a proposed exemption for film and media studies professors. The proponents of the exemption demonstrated that the reproduction and public performance of short portions of motion pictures or other audiovisual works in the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a film or media studies course would generally constitute a noninfringing use. The proponents further demonstrated that the digital version of the motion pictures distributed on DVDs was not merely a preferred format, but that the digital version of these works was the only version of the work that met the pedagogical needs of the film and media studies professors. The proponents of the exemption also demonstrated that their otherwise noninfringing uses of the digital versions of these motion pictures were adversely affected by the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures protecting access to these works, because the Content Scrambling System (CSS) contained on most commercially released DVDs was an access control system that prevented the making of a compilation of film clips for classroom use. Although opponents of the exemption demonstrated a DVD player that was alleged to meet the pedagogical needs of educators, the device presented obstacles for classroom use that were found to be more than a mere inconvenience for a subset of users - film and media studies professors.

The proponents met their burden of proving that section 1201(a)(1) was adversely affecting film and media studies educators’ ability to engage in noninfringing uses for the ensuing 3-year period and that no reasonable substitute for the pedagogically beneficial digital content was available or likely to become available in the next three years. The opponents of the proposal expressed concern that if the proposed class of works-audiovisual works included in the educational library of a college or university’s film or media studies department and that are protected by technological measures that prevent their educational use-was based only on attributes of the work itself, the exemption would necessarily exempt a much broader range of uses than those in which the film professors wished to engage. Moreover, copyright owners were concerned that such an exemption would create public confusion about the circumstances in which circumvention was appropriate. Given the expanse of such a class of works and the adverse effects that could occur as a result of confusion about the class, copyright owners argued that overall harm of such an exemption would outweigh the marginal benefits to this subset of educators.

The Register concluded that a further refinement of the scope of a class of works was the proper balance to the valid concerns of both educators and copyright owners. By delineating the class in relation to the relevant noninfringing use proven to be, or likely to be, adversely affected by the prohibition on circumvention, film and media studies educators’ needs could be met while leaving the statutory prohibition against circumvention intact for that class with respect to other uses.

In all proposed exemptions, the starting point for a class of works must be a section 102 category of authorship, or a subset thereof. That category or subset should then be tailored by other criteria as appropriate under the particular facts presented. The goal is to fashion an exemption that is neither too narrow nor too broad to remedially address the evidence of present and likely harm. An appropriately fashioned exemption will assist users and copyright owners alike, by temporarily suspending the prohibition on circumvention for appropriately tailored adversely affected classes, while preserving the prohibition in all other classes.

The exemptions published for each three-year period are temporary and expire when the succeeding determination of the Librarian of Congress is published. This rulemaking will examine adverse effects existing in the marketplace or likely to exist in the next three-year period to determine whether any exemptions to the prohibition on circumvention of technological protection measures that effectively control access to copyrighted works are warranted by the evidence raised during this rulemaking.

F. Considerations to Address within a Comment

This notice requests written comments from all interested parties. In addition to the necessary showing discussed above, in order to make a prima facie case for a proposed exemption, certain critical points should be established. First, a proponent should identify the technological measure that is the ultimate source of the alleged problem, and the proponent should explain how the technological measure effectively controls access to a copyrighted work. Second, a proponent must specifically explain what noninfringing activity the prohibition on circumvention is preventing. Third, a proponent should establish that the prevented activity is, in fact, a noninfringing use under current law. A proponent should also demonstrate why the access-protected copy of a work is needed for the noninfringing use and why alternate means of engaging in the noninfringing uses (including use of available copies of the work in unprotected formats), if they exist, are an insufficient substitute for accomplishing the noninfringing use.

The nature of the Librarian’s inquiry is further delineated by the statutory areas to be examined by the Register of Copyrights:

(i) the availability for use of copyrighted works;

(ii) the availability for use of works for nonprofit archival, preservation, and educational purposes;

(iii) the impact that the prohibition on the circumvention of technological measures applied to copyrighted works has on criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research;Start Printed Page 58078

(iv) the effect of circumvention of technological measures on the market for or value of copyrighted works; and

(v) such other factors as the Librarian considers appropriate.

17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(C).

These statutory considerations require examination and careful balancing. The harm identified by a proponent of an exemption must be balanced with the harm that would result from an exemption. In some circumstances, the adverse effect of a proposed exemption in light of these considerations may be greater than the harm posed by the prohibition on circumvention of works in the proposed class. Perhaps the proper balance can be resolved by carefully tailoring the scope of the class, but ultimately, the determination of the Librarian must take all of these factors into account.

3. Written Comments

In the first rulemaking, the Register determined that the burden of proof is on the proponent of an exemption to come forward with evidence supporting an exemption for a particular class of works. In this fourth triennial rulemaking, the Register shall continue with the procedure adopted in the second and third rulemakings: Comments submitted in the initial comment period should be confined to proposals for exempted classes. They should specifically identify particular classes of works adversely affected by the prohibition and provide evidentiary support for the need for the proposed exemptions (see section F above).

For each particular class of works that a commenter proposes for exemption, the commenter should first identify that class, followed by a summary of the argument in favor of exempting that proposed class. The commenter should then specify the facts and evidence providing a basis for this exemption. This factual information should ideally include the technological measure that controls access and the manner in which this technological measure operates to control access to a copyrighted work. Finally, the commenter should state any legal arguments in support of the exemption, including the activity that is claimed to be noninfringing, the legal basis for this claim, and why this noninfringing activity cannot be accomplished in other ways. This format of class/summary/ facts/argument should be sequentially followed for each class of work proposed as necessary.

As discussed above, the best evidence in support of an exemption would consist of concrete examples or specific instances in which the prohibition on circumvention of technological measures protecting access has had or is likely to have an adverse effect on noninfringing uses. It would also be useful for the commenter to quantify the adverse effects in order to explain the scope of the present or likely problem.

Comments subsequently submitted in response to exemptions proposed in the first round of comments should provide factual information and legal argument addressing whether or not a proposed exemption should be adopted. Since the comments in this second round are intended to be responsive to the initial comments, commenters must identify which proposal(s) they are responding to, whether in opposition, support, amplification or correction. As with initial comments, these responsive comments should first identify the proposed class or classes to which the comment is responsive, provide a summary of the argument, and then provide the factual and/or legal support for their argument. This format of class/summary/facts and/or legal argument should be repeated for each comment responsive to a particular class of work proposed.

Regardless of the mode of submission (see section 4 below), all comments must, at a minimum, contain the legal name of the submitter and the entity, if any, on whose behalf the comment was submitted. If persons do not wish to have their address, telephone number, or email address publicly displayed on the Office’s website, comments should not include such information on the document itself but should only include the legal name of the commenter. The Office prefers that all comments be submitted in electronic form and the electronic form will provide a place to provide the required information separately from the attached comment submission. However, the Office recognizes that persons may be unable to submit their comments through the Office’s website or to deliver their comments in person. Therefore, comments may also be delivered through the United States Postal Service, addressed to the Office of the General Counsel, Copyright GC/I&R, PO Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024-0400. A comment submitted by mail or hand-delivery should include a cover sheet that includes the required information about the submitter (e.g., address, telephone, and email) and should not include this information in the comment itself if such information is not desired to be placed on the Copyright Office’s website. Due to mail screening on Capitol Hill and possible delays in delivery, submission by means of the United States Postal Service is discouraged and there is a risk that the comment will not be received at the Copyright Office in time to be considered. Electronic filing or hand-delivery will help ensure timely receipt of comments by the Office. Electronic comments successfully submitted through the Office’s website will generate a confirmation receipt to the submitter.

4. Submission of Comments

Comments may be submitted in the following ways:

If submitted through the Copyright Office’s website: The Copyright Office’s website will contain a submission page at: http://www.copyright.gov/​1201/​comment-forms. Approximately thirty days prior to each applicable deadline (see DATES), the form page will be activated on the Copyright Office website allowing information to be entered into the required fields, including the name of the person making the submission, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. There will also be non-required fields for, e.g., the commenter’s title, the organization that the commenter is representing, whether the commenter is likely to request to testify at public hearings and if so, whether the commenter is likely to prefer to testify in Washington, DC, or a location in California. In addition, commenters proposing classes of works in the first round of comments will be required to fill in two additional fields: (1) the proposed class or classes of copyrighted work(s) to be exempted, and (2) a brief summary of the argument(s). Commenters submitting comments in response to the initial proposals will similarly be required to fill in two additional required fields: (1) the class or classes to which the comment is responsive, including the initial comment numbers, and (2) a brief summary of the argument.

All comments submitted electronically must be sent as an attachment, and must be in a single file in either Adobe Portable Document File (PDF) format (preferred), Microsoft Word Version 2003 or earlier, WordPerfect 12.0 or earlier, Rich Text Format (RTF), or ASCII text file format. There will be a browse button on the form that will allow submitters to attach the comment file to the form and then to submit the completed form to the Office.

The personal information entered into the required fields on the form page will not be publicly posted on the Copyright Office website, but the Office intends to post on its website the name of the proponent, the proposed class and the summary of the argument, as well as the entire, attached comment document. Start Printed Page 58079Only the commenter’s name is required on the comment document itself and a commenter who does not want other personal information posted on the Office’s website should avoid including other personal information on the comment itself. Except in exceptional circumstances, changes to the submitted comment will not be allowed and it will become a part of the permanent public record of this rulemaking.

If submitted by means of the United States Postal Service or hand delivery:

a. Electronic copies: Send, to the appropriate address listed above, two copies, each on a 3.5-inch write-protected diskette or CD-ROM, labeled with the legal name of the person making the submission and the entity on whose behalf the comment was submitted, if any. The document itself must be in a single file in either Adobe Portable Document File (.pdf) format (preferred), Microsoft Word Version 2007 or earlier (.doc or .docx), WordPerfect Version 12.0 or earlier (.wpd) , Rich Text Format (.rtf), or ASCII text file (.txt) document. If the comment is hand delivered or mailed to the Office and the submitter does not wish to have the address, telephone number, or email address publicly displayed on the Office’s website, the comment should not include such information on the document itself, but only the name and affiliation, if any, of the commenter. In that case, a cover letter should be included with the comment that contains the commenter’s address, phone number, email address, and for initial comments, the proposed class of copyrighted work to be exempted and a brief summary of the argument.

b. Paper copies: Anyone who is unable to submit a comment in electronic form (on the website as an attachment or by means of the United States Postal Service or hand delivery on disk or CD-ROM) should submit an original and ten paper copies by hand or by means of the United States Postal Service to the appropriate address listed above. It may not be feasible for the Office to place these comments on its website.

General Requirements for all submissions: All submissions (in either electronic or non-electronic form delivered through the website, by means of the United States Postal Service by hand-delivery or by courier) must contain on the comment itself, the name of the person making the submission and his or her title and affiliation, if the comment is being submitted on behalf of that organization. The mailing address, telephone number, fax number, if any, and email address need not be included on the comment itself, but must be included in some form, e.g., on the website form or in a cover letter with the submission. All submissions must also include the class/summary/factual and/or legal argument format in the comment itself for each class of work proposed or for each comment responsive to a proposed exemption.

Comments will be accepted for a 30-day period, and a form will be placed on the Copyright Office website at least 30 days prior to the deadline for submission. Initial comments will be accepted from November 3, 2008, until December 2, 2008, at 5:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, at which time the submission form will be removed from the website. The deadline for the second round of comments will be announced in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to be published in December, and will probably be on or about February 2, 2008.

5. Hearings

As mentioned above, after the conclusion of the comment periods, the Register intends to hold public hearings in the Spring in Washington, DC and in California. The Washington, DC hearings will most likely take place in the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress. The dates and confirmed location of hearings in Washington, DC and California, have not yet been determined. A separate notice for details on all hearings in this rulemaking proceeding will be published at a later time in the Federal Register and on the Copyright Office’s website. In order to assist the Copyright Office in identifying the number of days for hearings, the comment form page will contain non-required fields asking whether the commenter is likely to request to testify and if so, in which location. Formal requests to testify will be solicited early in 2009.

As noted above, following the hearings, the Copyright Office may request additional information from parties who have been involved in the rulemaking process. Such requests for responses to questions will take the form of a letter from the Copyright Office and will be addressed to particular parties involved in an issue in which more information is sought. These inquiries will include deadlines based on when the requests for information are sent. After the receipt of all responses to all inquiries from the Copyright Office, the Office will post the questions, the parties to whom the questions were sent, and the responses on the Copyright Office’s website.

6. Process for Untimely Submissions based on Exceptional or Unforeseen Circumstances

To provide sufficient flexibility in this proceeding, in the event that unforeseen developments occur after the deadlines for the filing of initial comments, a person wishing to propose an exemption for a particular class of works after the specified deadline for initial comments may petition the Register to consider an additional exemption. A petition, including proposed new classes of works to be exempted, must be in writing and must set forth the reasons why the information could not have been made available earlier and why it should be considered by the Register after the deadline. A petition must also be accompanied by ten copies of a comment that meets the requirements for initial comments set forth in section 3 above, any new proposed exemption that includes the proposed class of works to be exempted, a summary of the argument, the factual basis for such an exemption and the legal argument supporting such an exemption. These materials must be delivered to the Copyright Office at the address listed above. A person wishing to file any other untimely submission may also petition the Register to consider such submission, but such untimely submissions will be disfavored. Exceptional or unforeseen circumstances generally entail information that did not exist at the time of the comment periods. The Register will make a determination whether to accept a petition based on the stage of the rulemaking process at which the request is made and the merits of the petition. A substantively meritorious petition may be denied if the petition comes so late in the process that adequate notice and comment cannot be accommodated within the statutory time frame of the rulemaking process. The mere fact that an interested party was unaware of this proceeding or of any particular exemptions proposed in this proceeding is not a valid justification for a late submission. If a petition is accepted, the Register will publish the proposal in the Federal Register and announce deadlines for comments. If a petition is denied, the Register will set forth the reasons for the denial in a letter to the petitioner. All petitions and responses will become part of the public record in this rulemaking process.

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October 1, 2008

Marybeth Peters,

Register of Copyrights.

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Footnotes

1.  See infra for a discussion of proposals raised after the initial comment period has expired.

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2.  If a comment includes attached material that appears to be protected by copyright and there is no indication that the material was attached with permission of the copyright owner, the attached material will not be placed on the Office’s website. If such material is available on the Internet, the comment should identify where the material may be found.

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3.  Proponents of an exemption may do so in their comments proposing exemptions. Opponents of an exemption should do so in their comments filed in response to the forthcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

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[FR Doc. E8-23576 Filed 10-3-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 1410-33-S