UPDATE: Tell the U.S. Copyright Office that the DMCA anti-circumvention provisions are Defective By Design by March 2nd, 2016

UPDATE: The U.S. Copyright Office has extended the deadline for comments -- our comment will be open for co-signing until noon EST (5pm UTC) on March 2nd, 2016.

The anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) are broken beyond repair. In April of 2015 we stated the problem succinctly:

Every three years, supporters of user rights are forced to go through a Kafkaesque process fighting for exemptions from the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA... In short, under the DMCA's rules, everything not permitted is forbidden. Unless we expend time and resources to protect and expand exemptions, users could be threatened with legal consequences for circumventing the digital restrictions management (DRM) on their own devices and software and could face criminal penalties for sharing tools that allow others to do the same. Exemptions don't fix the harm brought about by the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, but they're the only crumbs Congress deigned to throw us when they tossed out our rights as users.

This is a message that we at Defective By Design have been sounding off on for years. Finally, the folks in Washington are starting to listen. On December 29th, 2015, the United States Copyright Office put out a Notice and Request for Public Comment on the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. Congress asked them to study the effects of the anti-circumvention rules and the process of granting exemptions. This call for comment presents us with a rare opportunity to have our voice heard when they are finally paying attention.

But if they just hear from us, they might go on ignoring our pleas. That is why we need your voice added to the chorus. We have prepared a comment to be submitted that we want you to co-sign. Each co-signer represents another person who is fed up and wants a return of control to the user. As we make clear in our comment, a band-aid won't fix the gaping wounds caused by this broken system: we have to stop this attack on user freedom once and for all by repealing the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions.

If you are a US citizen or you are living in the US, then you can help by signing on to our comment.

If you are not a US citizen, then we hope you will use this as an opportunity to reach out to your local government about the dangers of DRM and nasty provisions like those found in the DMCA. If you do contact your own government with such a request, please, email licensing@fsf.org and let us know!

As with our push to help the U.S. Department of Education, digital submission of DMCA comments require the use of proprietary JavaScript, so we are once again printing out and sending our comment via the postal mail. As such, we will need to get your signature by noon EST (5pm UTC) on February 23rdMarch 2nd in order to ensure that we get everything delivered by the February 25th deadline March 3rd.

After you have signed, here are some other ways to help:

  • Share this call to action with your friends and colleagues, and encourage them to co-sign as well.
  • Support our work fighting against DRM by making a donation.
  • You can also submit a comment of your own, although it unfortunately requires the use of proprietary JavaScript to do so online.
  • Please spread the word on places like reddit!