Magazine article American Libraries

Billington Issues Narrow DMCA Exemptions

Magazine article American Libraries

Billington Issues Narrow DMCA Exemptions

Article excerpt

Librarian of Congress James Billington has issued four narrow exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibition on circumventing digital copy-protection technologies, disappointing consumer-rights groups that had hoped for broader exceptions.

Billington's October 28 announcement included two new exemptions: one allowing circumvention of access controls that block read-aloud or text-to-Braille devices, and another permitting circumvention in the use of computer programs and video games whose formats have become obsolete. He renewed exemptions issued in 2000 that allowed access to the lists of websites blocked by filtering software and the circumvention of access-control mechanisms that block because of malfunction, damage, or obsoleteness. The exemptions expire after three years, after which they must be renewed by LC's Copyright Office.

In a statement, Billington said that the decision "is not a broad evaluation of the successes or failures of the DMCA. The purpose of the proceeding is to determine whether current technologies that control access to copyrighted works are diminishing the ability of individuals to use works in lawful, noninfringing ways. …

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