DMCA Legislative Reform

More than 23 years have passed since Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which was intended to enable copyright owners and online service providers to collaborate to combat online infringement. But, today, piracy is more rampant than ever. So where does the DMCA stand now, and what needs to happen for it to live up to the potential that Congress intended? Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s IP Subcommittee conducted a series of hearings throughout 2020 on what’s working and not working regarding the DMCA in today’s digital age to help determine how to best move forward.

On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Copyright Office issued its long-awaited Section 512 Report as a means of assisting Congress in updating the Copyright Act for the 21st Century. On March 18, 2022, the SMART (Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies) Copyright Act of 2022 (S. 3880) was introduced by Ranking Member Tillis and Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), which would enable the U.S. Copyright Office to establish a triennial rulemaking process that would require platforms to implement technical measures to protect against piracy on their sites and impose significant consequences on those platforms that fail to comply. In response to the bill’s introduction, the Copyright Alliance—along with numerous other organizations—released statements of support regarding the bill’s introduction.

On April 4, 2022, the Copyright Alliance and 35 other organizations sent a letter to Senators Tillis and Leahy, commending them for introducing the SMART Act. In the joint letter, the organizations state “We applaud your effort to breathe new life into what the Copyright Office…identified as the untapped potential of STMs,” and that “The SMART Copyright Act will encourage cooperation between platforms and rightsholders to address online piracy in practical, effective ways that benefit creators, consumers, and services.” The letter also addresses the critics’ rebuffs by noting that “Critics wrongly claim the bill introduces new technology mandates—a distortion of your legislation, which includes no standards or mandates. The SMART Copyright Act simply creates a process by which expert agencies can gather information, vet ideas through rigorous and transparent processes, and engage stakeholders in identifying antipiracy approaches that have proven safe, practical, and effective in the marketplace.”

For more information, coverage, and statements regarding DMCA reform and initiatives such as the SMART Copyright Act, please see below:

Statements, Letters, and Videos

Hearings, Videos and Testimonies

Blogs, Articles and Op-Ed CoverageA