DMCA Rulemaking

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits "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. Every three years the U.S. Copyright Office convenes a rulemaking to consider granting exemptions to the DMCA's ban on circumvention to mitigate the harms the law has caused to legitimate non-infringing uses of copyrighted materials.

In 2003 EFF filed for four exemptions all seeking to allow consumers to repair DRM-crippled CDs and DVDs. All four exemptions were denied.

In 2006 EFF did not file any DMCA exemption requests. Instead we explained why the rulemaking process is fundamentally broken.

In 2009 EFF sought three exemptions: One to allow video remixing and two to allow cell phone unlocking. In a huge victory for digital rights all three exemptions were granted.

In 2012 EFF sought to build on expand the exemptions won in the 2009 rulemaking. EFF asked the Copyright Office to protect the "jailbreaking" of smartphones, electronic tablets, and video game consoles.  EFF also asked for legal protections for artists and critics who use excerpts from DVDs or downloading services to create new, remixed works. The Copyright Office renewed the exemption for smartphones, but did not extend it to other devices. The Copyright Office also reaffirmed the exemption for video remix, and expanded it to allow use of clips from online services.

In 2015 EFF is seeking six exemptions: Enabling security professionals to conduct research into the safety and security of vehicles; Allowing automobile owners to circumvent restrictions to repair and personalize their vehicles; Legal protections for circumventing DRM to extract clips to create new and remixed audiovisual works from streaming sources; "Jailbreaking" of mobile computing devices such as smartphones and tablets to enable interoperability and remove unwanted software; Circumventing DRM in DVDs and Blu-Ray discs to extract clips; Enabling users to circumvent DRM to restore access to games abandoned by their developers.

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Check out our Stupid Patent of the Month, from a company that seems to think it invented passwords.

Jul 29 @ 4:19pm

Users should be informed when their content comes under threat of removal from the Internet. This tool could help.

Jul 29 @ 4:05pm

"Surveillance technologies are being deployed by local police across the US, often without any oversight."

Jul 29 @ 1:47pm
JavaScript license information