Software Freedom Conservancy

Conservancy Files “Long Comments” for Its Three DMCA Exemptions

Conservancy Fights for User Rights and Control

December 15, 2020

Software Freedom Conservancy filed its long-form comments yesterday in support of three DMCA exemption requests in the Library of Congress' Copyright Office Triennial Rulemaking process. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides this process to grant temporary exemptions to allow circumvention of technological protection measures (i.e., DRM) that restrict access to copyrighted material.

The three exemptions, which Conservancy has shepherded through the 2021 process since September 2020, seek essential rights for those who wish to exercise their software freedom. There were many great exemption requests filed this round by many different organizations. The three that Conservancy led were as follows:

  • Our first exemption request allows Conservancy and others to continue enforcement of copyleft licenses in the face of violators' efforts to thwart us with technological restrictions and the power of this law that, ironically, can make such work illegal. This exemption would permit circumvention of technological measures for purposes of investigating and confirming violations of FOSS license. (Read more in our original filing and our newly filed Long Comment.)
  • The second exemption is the first-ever attempt to gain a comprehensive exemption for network router FOSS projects such as our OpenWrt project. This exemption, if approved, would permit users, after-market, to install FOSS firmwares (such as OpenWrt) on wireless router hardware that has DRM'd firmwares from the manufacturer. (Read more in our original filing and our newly filed Long Comment.)
  • Our third exemption requests expansion of the existing security research exemptions to also permit good-faith testing, investigation, and correction of privacy issues that are not otherwise covered by existing statutory or temporary exemptions and suggests expansion1201§(i). (Read more in our original filing and our newly filed Long Comment.)

Conservancy plans various blog posts this month that explain the DMCA exemption process, where we are currently in that process this year, and gives detailed non-legal explanations of our Long Comments.

Conservancy's annual fundraiser is currently underway with a generous match donations from individuals who care deeply about software freedom and Conservancy's work. You can support our efforts on these DMCA exemptions and our other work by becoming a Supporter now.

Please note: while the Long Comment templates were indeed provided by the Copyright Office in Microsoft Word format and say so at the top of each document, we and our attorneys imported them into LibreOffice for preparation and filing.

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