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Non-profit digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed copyright exemption requests for the use of software relating to DVDs, automobiles and video games.
Under section 1201 of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), individuals and organisations are able to file for exemptions at the US Copyright Office every three years for the use of material currently prohibited under the act.
Among the requests the EFF has made to the US Copyright Office is the use of extracted material from DVDs that have been legally obtained for non-commercial purposes and the use of video games online after the developer has since removed the official server.
Also, the EFF has asked for the protection of those accessing the software used in cars for the purposes of repair or personalisation.
In the previous round of exemption requests in 2012, the EFF petitioned the office to protect the activity of “jailbreaking”, whereby users of Apple devices download software not available in the official Apple app store, as well as legal protection for users to create re-mixed works from excerpts in DVDs.
Corynne McSherry, EFF’s director of IP, said: “The DMCA was supposed to help protect against copyright infringement, but it’s been abused to interfere with all kinds of lawful activities that have nothing to do with infringement.”
“Software is in all kinds of devices, from cars to coffee-makers to alarm clocks. If that software is locked down by digital rights management, it’s likely that you can’t tinker, repair, and re-use those objects without incurring legal risk.”
Mitch Stoltz, EFF staff attorney, said: “These requests highlight some of the ways that Section 1201 of the DMCA has given the Library of Congress a veto on innovation and creativity.”
Electronic Frontier Foundation; US Copyright Office; copyright infringement; DMCA