As Congress continues to hear testimony regarding potential changes to the U.S. copyright system, the Department of Commerce issued a green paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy. It addresses striking the proper balance between the rights of copyright holders and the innovative power of the Internet and the free flow of information.
“Copyright law strikes a number of important balances in delineating what is protectable and what is not, determining what uses are permitted without a license, and establishing appropriate enforcement mechanisms to combat piracy, so that all stakeholders benefit from the protection afforded by copyright,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “Ensuring that our copyright policy provides incentives for creativity while promoting innovation on the Internet is a critical and challenging task. The Green Paper released today is an important step toward ensuring that the United States’ creative industries continue to have a substantial impact on strengthening our nation’s economy.”
The green paper was prepared by the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) with input from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). According to the USPTO, it is the most thorough and comprehensive analysis of digital copyright policy issued by any administration since 1995.
The report includes recommendations to establish a stakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as well as proposals to solicit public comments and convene roundtables on:
- The legal framework for the creation of remixes;
- The relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment;
- The application of statutory damages in the context of individual file-sharers and secondary liability for large-scale online infringement;
- The appropriate role for the government, if any, to help improve the online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive public and private databases of rights information.
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