In a nearly 200-page report issued Thursday, the U.S. Copyright Office describes how the safe-harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act now favors tech companies over rights-holders. After studying the issue for several years and receiving more than 92,000 comments, the Copyright Office reports that "Congress may wish to fine-tune" the statute.
Specifically, the reports takes up Section 512 of the DMCA, a 1998 law that spells out what online service providers must do to be free of copyright liability for infringements on their networks. The statute guides digital services to take reasonable steps to expeditiously remove pirated works upon notice. For almost a quarter century, this law — along with Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act — has been the subject of tremendous court fights and has shaped the evolution of the online ecosphere, from Napster to YouTube to Spotify.
The Copyright Office heard from both tech companies and content creators about the law, and the government ultimately sides with the latter constituency that Section 512 needs tweaking.