It isn't just the DMCA that is broken beyond repair: Copyright Office refuses FSF comments

In February, the Defective By Design team asked for your help in sending a simple message: the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA and attendant triennial exemptions process are broken beyond repair. You answered the call in a big way. On March 3rd, a group of activists delivered a comment to the U.S. Copyright Office with over twelve-hundred co-signers. The Copyright Office requested feedback on the DMCA's broken Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) rules and we made clear that the only way to fix the harm would be a full repeal of the law.

We explained the damage caused by this misguided law back in April of 2015:

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 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.

No quick fix could ever cure all these harms. You helped us send that message by co-signing our comment and sharing it with others. Now it's up to the Copyright Office to actually listen, and on that front, things are not looking good.

As we wrote back in February, submitting comments to the Copyright Office requires the use of proprietary JavaScript. No one should be required to use proprietary software simply to communicate with their government. But the Copyright Office would not offer any other means of submitting comments digitally. So we delivered the signed comment in person. But the Copyright Office has refused to accept the comment as delivered.

This is an unjust outcome for what we all hoped would be an opportunity to help the Copyright Office fix the broken anti-circumvention system. But while the Copyright Office refuses to listen, there are others who will. You've done so much already to help our voice be heard, can you help us finish the job? Here's what you can do to help:

  • If you microblog, please share the following message (or your own) with the hashtag #endDRM. We strongly suggest that if you use Twitter, you do it in a way that avoids using proprietary software:

The DMCA's anti-circumvention rules are broken beyond repair, the time to end Digital Restrictions Management is now. #endDRM

  • Share this post with your friends and colleagues to help spread the word.
  • Support our fight to end DRM by making a donation