Ninth Triennial Section 1201 Proceeding, 2024 Cycle
Submit Written Comments Long Comment Form
The Copyright Office has initiated the ninth triennial rulemaking proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), section 1201 of Title 17 of the United States Code U.S.C. § 1201, which provides that the Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, may adopt temporary exemptions to section 1201’s prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The ultimate goal of the proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be in the next three years, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumventing access controls. When such classes are identified, the Librarian promulgates regulations exempting the classes from the prohibition for the succeeding three-year period.
The Office is again using a streamlined procedure for the renewal of exemptions that were granted during the eighth triennial rulemaking. If renewed, those current exemptions would remain in force for an additional three-year period (October 2024–October 2027).
Written petitions for renewal of current exemptions were due July 7, 2023, and written responses were due on August 11, 2023. Petitions proposing new exemptions were due August 25, 2023.
On October 19, 2023, the Office issued a notice of proposed rulemaking. As discussed in that notice, the Office has reviewed all renewal petitions and related comments and concludes that it has received a sufficient petition to renew all but one existing exemptions and does not find any sufficient opposition to renewal. Accordingly, the Office intends to recommend readoption of all but one existing exemptions.
The Office has evaluated the petitions for new or expanded exemptions and grouped them into seven classes, which are described in greater detail in the notice. The Office is now initiating three rounds of public comment on those classes of exemption.
The Office is accepting two types of comments, both of which must be submitted electronically through Regulations.gov. First, commenters who wish briefly to express general support for or opposition to a proposed exemption may submit such short-form comments electronically by typing it directly into the comment field on Regulations.gov. The short-form comment should identify the specific class of exemption to which the comment pertains. Second, commenters who wish to provide a fuller legal and evidentiary basis for their position may upload a Word or PDF document, but such longer submissions must be completed using the long-comment form provided at the link above. Additionally, the Office is accepting multimedia evidence submitted in conformity with the Office's instructions. For more information about how to submit written comments and multimedia evidence, please see the Office's instructions by clicking the "Submit Written Comments" link above.
In the first round of comments, which are due December 22, 2023, the Office seeks legal and evidentiary submissions from parties who proposed new exemptions during the petition phase and members of the public who support the adoption of a proposed exemption, as well as members of the public who neither support nor oppose an exemption but seek to share pertinent information about a specific proposal. Responsive legal and evidentiary submissions from those who oppose the adoption of a proposed exemption are due February 20, 2024. Reply comments from supporters of a proposed exemption and those that neither support nor oppose a proposed exemption are due March 19, 2024. Commenters may submit comments for more than one class; however, commenters must submit a separate comment for each proposed class they wish to address.
Participants in the proceeding are encouraged to familiarize themselves with section 1201(a)(1) and the rulemaking requirements so they can maximize the effectiveness of their submissions. For more information, commenters should carefully review the notice of proposed rulemaking and submission instructions. Additional background information about section 1201 is available at copyright.gov/1201/, which contains helpful resources, such as video tutorials, the Office's recent policy study on section 1201, and links to prior rulemaking proceedings.