SafeharborAccording to a pre-publication copy of the Federal Register seen by Library Journal, the U.S. Copyright Office is scheduling “two two-day public roundtables on DMCA safe harbor issues in New York, New York and Stanford, California in May 2016.” These roundtables follow the Copyright Office’s launch of a study “to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the DMCA safe harbor provisions contained in 17 U.S.C. 512.” This is othewise known as the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA), according to Wikipedia, “sometimes referred to as the “Safe Harbor” provision or as “DMCA 512” because it added Section 512 to Title 17 of the United States Code.”

OCILLA of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) deals with the safe harbor provisions that protect ISPs, website owners, etc. from copyright infringement claims in certain situations. It regulates the use of takedown notices for copyrighted materials, and the service provider’s knowledge or ignorance of the copyright status of targeted items. Criticism so far of the DCMA safe harbor provisions tends to revolve round the use of takedown notices against material that doesn’t in fact infringe copyright, and evidence that the counter-notice procedure to object to takedown notices is too slow and cumbersome to be workable.

These are going to be the main points of the upcoming roundtables, which should be a showcase for current concerns on online content and digital rights anyway. “The roundtables will offer an opportunity for interested parties to comment further on the pertinent issues, including topics such as the scope and legal requirements of the DMCA safe harbors; the notice-and-takedown and counter-notification processes, including relevant technological developments; voluntary measures to address online infringement; and the overall effectiveness of section 512,” states the notice. Full details on the actual timing of the roundtables are available here, and full details of the topics to be covered should be available at this link, according to the notice, though in fact they aren’t – yet at least. Presumably they will be by the time of the roundtables.



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