2009 DMCA Rulemaking

In the 2009 rulemaking EFF won three critical exemptions protecting the important work of video remix artists iPhone owners and cell phone recyclers from legal threats.

The first proposal was aimed at protecting the video remix culture currently thriving on Internet sites like YouTube. The filing asked for a DMCA exemption for amateur creators who use excerpts from DVDs in order to create new noncommercial works. Hollywood took the view that "ripping" DVDs is always a violation of the DMCA no matter the purpose.

Another proposal requested a DMCA exemption for cell phone "jailbreaking" -- liberating iPhones and other handsets to run applications from sources other than those approved by the phone maker. Hundreds of thousands of iPhone owners have "jailbroken" their iPhones in order to use applications obtained from sources other than Apple's own iTunes "App Store."

EFF's third proposal asked for a renewal of an exemption previously granted for unlocking cell phones so that the handsets can be used with any telecommunications carrier. Carriers have threatened cell phone unlockers under the DMCA to protect their anti-competitive business models even though there is no copyright infringement involved in the unlocking. Instead the digital locks on cell phones make it harder to resell reuse or recycle the handset.

EFF represented three companies in this request. The Wireless Alliance is a Colorado limited liability corporation that recycles and resells used refurbished and new cellular products. ReCellular is the world's largest recycler and reseller of used cellular phones and accessories. Flipswap makes it easy to give mobile phones a second shot at life by offering fast free and eco-friendly ways to trade them in.

In July 2010 in a major victory for digital rights the Copyright Office granted all three requests.

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