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Digital Age Public Interest Group Proposes Reforms To Copyright Law

in Copyright/Intellectual Property by

Public Knowledge, a consumer public interest group in Washington, D.C., re-iterated its proposals Friday to modernize copyright law in connection with the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California.

Back in 2001, the law clinic was the first in the United States to offer law students the chance to participate in technology policymaking through litigation and other kinds of legal advocacy.

One of the projects that the clinic has been focusing on as of late is the creation of proposals to modernize copyright law as every individual now has the power to create and redistribute several forms of digital media.

The Public Knowledge reform proposals are a parallel project to another similar project underway at the clinic.

Public Knowledge's recommendations, put together by the Samuelson Law clinic's co-director Jennifer Urban and her students, address the subjects of fair-use, anti-piracy device circumvention, abuse of the copyright symbol, the notice and take-down provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA,) the problem of incidental copies, and streaming music licensing.

Public Knowledge wants to update the DMCA to make people who submit take-down notices to online service providers more accountable.

The group wants to update the law so that entities that submit takedown notices have to submit them under penalty of perjury. The group also wants more transparency brought to the takedown process.

It also wants to make technical changes to the law that explicitly state that the making of copies of copyrighted work to facilitate technical functions -- such as to enable playing any media files on computers --  is not subject to infringement proceedings.

The group says that content companies have been trying to wring licensing fees from these temporary copies, but without success.

The group also wants to create new digital music rights organizations that would make the process of licensing of music online more efficient, and to clarify the rights associated with digital transmissions.

Public Knowledge believes that, again, incidental copies made to facilitate music streaming should not be subject to reproduction right royalties, and that downloads shouldn't; be counted as public performances.

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