On October 28, 2003, the Librarian of Congress,
on the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, announced
the classes of works subject to the exemption from the prohibition
against circumvention of technological measures that control access
to copyrighted works. The four classes of works exempted are:
Compilations consisting of lists of Internet locations
blocked by commercially marketed filtering software applications
that are intended to prevent access to domains, websites
or portions of websites, but not including lists of Internet
locations blocked by software applications that operate
exclusively to protect against damage to a computer or
computer network or lists of Internet locations blocked
by software applications that operate exclusively to prevent
receipt of email.
(2) Computer programs protected by dongles that prevent
access due to malfunction or damage and which are obsolete.
(3) Computer programs and video games distributed in formats
that have become obsolete and which require the original
media or hardware as a condition of access. A format
shall be considered obsolete if the machine or system
necessary to render perceptible a work stored in that
format is no longer manufactured or is no longer reasonably
available in the commercial marketplace.
(4) Literary works distributed in ebook format when all
existing ebook editions of the work (including digital
text editions made available by authorized entities)
contain access controls that prevent the enabling of
the ebook's read-aloud function and that prevent the
enabling of screen readers to render the text into a
(1) “Internet locations” are defined to include
domains, uniform resource locators (URLs), numeric IP addresses
or any combination thereof.
(2) “Obsolete” shall mean “no longer
manufactured or reasonably available in the commercial
(3) “Specialized format,” “digital text”
and “authorized entities” shall have the same
meaning as in 17 U.S.C. §121.
These exemptions will remain in effect
through October 27, 2006.
The Copyright Office is conducting the rulemaking proceeding mandated
by the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act, which provides that the Librarian of Congress may exempt
certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention
of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.
The purpose of this proceeding is to determine whether there are
particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely
to be, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing
uses due to the prohibition on circumvention of access controls.
This page contains links to published documents in this proceeding.
The Notice of Inquiry in
this second anticircumvention rulemaking requested written comments
from all interested parties, including representatives of copyright
owners, educational institutions, libraries and archives, scholars,
researchers and members of the public, in order to elicit evidence
on whether noninfringing uses of certain classes of works are, or
are likely to be, adversely affected by this prohibition on the circumvention
of measures that control access to copyrighted works. The initial
round of comments (due December 18, 2002) was restricted to comments
proposing exemptions for specific classes of works. Reply comments
(due February 19) were submitted in opposition to or in further support
of exemptions proposed in the initial comments.
The Copyright Office held hearings in this rulemaking in Washington,
D.C., on April 11, May 1, May 2, and May 9, 2003, and in Los Angeles,
California, on May 14 and 15. (Read more information on Washington,
D.C., hearings and on the Los
The hearings that were scheduled to take place on April 15 and
30 were cancelled. Instead there was an afternoon hearing on May
1, a full day of hearings on May 2, and a hearing on Friday, May
9. (For more information, see the Federal
See the 1201 Hearing
Page for additional information about the agenda and for full
Prior (2000) Anticircumvention Rulemaking
The entire record of the previous
anticircumvention rulemaking is available.
For additional background on the anticircumvention provisions generally
and the previous anticircumvention rulemaking proceeding, see 64
FR 66139 (1999).
For the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights and the determination
of the Librarian of Congress in the previous anticircumvention rulemaking,
see 65 FR 64555 October