Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles - Experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will testify at public hearings held by the U.S. Copyright Office this month, urging officials to renew and expand the critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that the Copyright Office granted in 2009 in response to EFF's requests to protect the rights of American consumers who modify electronic gadgets and make remix videos.

EFF Staff Technologist Dan Auerbach will testify on Friday, May 11th, in Washington, D.C., demonstrating the technology of "jailbreaking" – liberating gadgets to run operating systems and applications from any source, not just those approved by the manufacturer. On Thursday, May 17th, in Los Angeles, EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann will testify about why it's important to clarify the legality of jailbreaking smart phones, tablets, and videogame consoles. At the same hearing in Los Angeles, EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry will testify to why artists and critics deserve legal protection for creating and using short excerpts of video content to make new works of commentary and criticism. Hofmann and McSherry will testify again on June 4 and June 5 in Washington, D.C., to respond to opponents of EFF's exemption requests.

EFF's testimony is part of the Copyright Office's rulemaking process, convened every three years to consider exemptions to the DMCA's prohibitions on "circumventing" digital rights management (DRM) and "other technical protection measures" used to protect copyrighted works. While this ban was meant to deter copyright infringement, many have misused the law to chill competition, free speech, and fair use. Exemptions are meant to mitigate the harms the law has caused to legitimate, non-infringing uses of copyrighted materials. In 2009, EFF won exemptions for jailbreaking smartphones and for artists who remix videos. EFF filed new exemption requests in 2011, seeking to renew and expand the 2009 rulings.


Public hearings on DMCA Rulemaking


May 11 – 10 a.m.
Copyright Hearing Room, LM-408
James Madison Building, Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE.
Washington, D.C.

May 17 – 9 a.m.
Moot Courtroom, Room 1310
University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA

For more on the DMCA rulemaking and EFF's testimony:


Rebecca Jeschke
   Media Relations Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation

Related Issues