Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. - Experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will testify at public hearings held by the U.S. Copyright Office this week and next, urging officials to grant and expand critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The exemptions will secure the right to access and tinker with devices in a variety of ways, from jailbreaking their tablets, to repairing their cars, to playing old video games and making remix videos.

EFF Staff Attorney Kit Walsh will testify Tuesday that legal restrictions on tinkering with the software in your car are preventing people and businesses from repairing and customizing vehicles as well as conducting needed security and safety research. Walsh will tell a Copyright Office panel that restricting access to onboard computers in cars, trucks, and tractors drives up costs for vehicle owners and stifles innovation.  On Wednesday, May 20, EFF Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz will urge the panel to grant DMCA exemptions to allow modification of older video games abandoned by manufacturers. On Thursday, May 21, Stoltz will ask the panel to renew exemptions for jailbreaking phones and tablets to run operating systems and applications of their choosing, even if those are not specifically authorized by device manufacturers.

The DMCA hearings continue next week at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.  On May 28, EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry will testify in support of creating fair use remixes of videos from locked sources, including DVDs and Blu-ray discs, as well as from online streaming sites.

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 restrict access to copyrighted works. While the DMCA’s circumvention ban was meant to deter copyright infringement, many have misused the law to chill competition, free speech, and fair use. EFF has filed petitions with the Copyright Office showing how these restrictions interfere with consumers’ rights to tinker with goods they own, from autos to smartphones. In past years, EFF successfully petitioned for the right to jailbreak your phone and use DVD video for fair use remixes.


Public Hearings on DMCA Rulemaking


May 19 - 10:45 am – Vehicle software (security and safety research)
               2 pm – Vehicle software (diagnosis, repair, and modification)

May 20 - 1:45 pm – Abandoned video games

May 21 - 10:15 am – Jailbreaking mobile phones

UCLA School of Law, Room 1314
385 Charles E. Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095

May 28 - 1:45 PM – Remix videos

Mumford Room, James Madison Building of the Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. SE.
Washington, D.C. 20540

For the full hearing agenda:

For more on EFF’s exemption requests: