Yesterday, the U.S. Copyright Office released a report titled "Software-Enabled Consumer Products."
The report follows a year-long process, during which
the Office studied how copyright law interacts
with software-enabled consumer products, from cars, to refrigerators,
to mobile phones, to thermostats and the like.
The report explores the various legal doctrines
that apply to this subset of software, which is increasingly
present in everyday life, including important copyright doctrines such
as fair use, merger,
scènes à faire,
first sale, and the section 117 exemptions. The report focuses on
specific issues raised in the public comments and hearings, including
how copyright law affects licensing, resale,
repair and tinkering, security research and interoperability.
Copyright Office's report found that current legal doctrines support a
wide range of legitimate uses of the embedded software in consumer
products while also recognizing the importance of
copyright protection to the creation and distribution of innovative
products. The report does not recommend legislative changes at this
The full report and executive summary are available on the Copyright Office's website at
A blog relating to Internet legal issues by Professor John Swinson, University of Queensland
Ninth Circuit Rules That Copyright Holders Must Consider Fair Use Before Issuing DMCA Takedown Notice
Media companies and other copyright holders may need to change the way they deal with infringing content on the Internet. In a closely watched copyright case, Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. (also known as the "Dancing Baby" case), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled yesterday that copyright holders must consider fair use before issuing takedown notices to remove allegedly infringing content from websites such as YouTube and Facebook. This decision has significant implications for owners of copyright-protected content, especially studios, record labels, publishers and other entities with large content catalogs, as well as individuals and businesses that rely on fair use to exploit copyrighted material owned by others.
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