Will Either McCain Or Obama Commit To Reforming The DMCA?

from the unlikely dept

With the McCain campaign upset at how the DMCA (which he voted for) makes YouTube take down videos even if they might not have infringing content, we wondered if he would go beyond asking YouTube for special treatment, and instead push to fix the DMCA. So far, the campaign has been pretty quiet on that issue, but Paul Alan Levy from Public Citizen has written a letter (pdf) to both campaigns, asking them to commit to having the DMCA reformed in a few significant ways once Congress is back in session.

The suggested changes would definitely be a big step in the right direction -- effectively moving the system from a "notice-and-takedown" system to a "notice-and-notice" system, which allows whoever posted any content to respond before it's taken down. It would also require a lot more openness in the process, including an initial notification to whoever uploaded the content, as opposed to just the service provider, and a system for making the takedown notices public. As it stands now, the system allows anyone to claim infringement and get the content taken down, without the original uploader or the public understanding why. The proposal would also make it easier to punish those who send false takedowns, which might help alleviate some of the problems. Somehow it seems unlikely that either campaign will get behind these proposals, but considering that they've both now seen how the DMCA has worked against them, it would be nice for them to make a concerted effort to fix it.

Filed Under: barack obama, copyright, dmca, fair use, john mccain
Companies: public citizen


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  1. identicon
    Paul Alan Levy, 21 Oct 2008 @ 7:59am

    Takedowns and Anonymity

    In comment no. 6, Discojohnson raises an interesting point about the interplay between the DMCA takedown procedure and anonymity. We have seen several occasions in our practice where rights holders have sent takedown notices that seem calculated to obtain the identity of the critic, daring him or her to submit a counternotice providing that identity. It is worth thinking about fixing that problem too.

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