The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) last week issued a green paper on copyright, and Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs Shira Perlmutter commented on the highlight of the paper’s core content and goals.
The paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (Green Paper), represents the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995. Along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the USPTO has played a key role in its production, from gathering public comments to the drafting and releasing the paper .
The Green Paper calls for new public input on critical policy issues that are central to the nation’s economic growth, cultural development and job creation. It is intended to serve as a reference for stakeholders, a blueprint for further action, and a contribution to global copyright debates. The Copyright Office will be reaching out to the public for views on a variety of topics.
Shira states that: “In recent years, the debates over copyright have become increasingly contentious. Too often copyright and technology policies are seen as pitted against each other, as if a meaningful copyright system is antithetical to the innovative power of the Internet, or an open Internet will result in the end of copyright. We do not believe such a dichotomy is necessary or appropriate.
The goals espoused in the paper— ensuring a meaningful and effective copyright system that continues to provide the necessary incentives for creative expression, preserving the technological innovation and free flow of information made possible by the Internet, and delivering creative content in the broadest possible fashion to consumers—are ones that we think can, and must, be accomplished in tandem.
By intention, the Green Paper does not set out substantive policy recommendations, except where the administration is already on record with a stated position. Rather, it seeks to provide a thorough and objective review of the lay of the land—describing changes that have already occurred, identifying areas where more work should be done, and setting out paths to move that work forward. The paper expresses support for efforts underway to address some of the open issues in other forums—notably Congressional attention to music licensing, the Copyright Office’s work on orphan works and mass digitization, and the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s facilitation of cooperative efforts by stakeholders to curb online enforcement.”
In the coming weeks, the Copyright Office will begin to move forward on the specific items outlined in the paper for IPTF action:
- Establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
- Soliciting public comment and convening roundtables on:
- The legal framework for the creation of remixes—user-generated content that uses portions of copyrighted works in creative ways.
- The relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital age.
- The appropriate calibration of statutory damages in the context of (1) individual file sharers and (2) secondary liability for large-scale infringement.
- Whether and how the government can facilitate the further development of a robust online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive public and private databases of rights information.
If you are a copyright stakeholder you need to continue to engage energetically and productively to develop the best possible copyright policy for the Internet. In order to do this the Copyright Office needs to hear from all affected interests, including those who create works, those who distribute them, and those who enjoy them.
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