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BYU Participates in DMCA Rulemaking

BYU Continues Its Commitment to Advocating for the Copyright Interests of Educational Institutions

On October 15, 2020, the United States Copyright Office (“USCO”) published a notice of proposed rulemaking related to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

The DMCA, in part, prohibits the circumvention of technological protection measures (“TPMs”) on copyrighted works. These TPMs include passwords, encryptions, and other copy and access restrictions. Every three years, the USCO conducts a rulemaking proceeding, and creates new exemptions to the TPMs prohibition based off of petitions from interested community members.

This year marks the 8th triennial rulemaking proceeding. The USCO received a total of 58 petitions including petitions to renew existing exemptions and petitions for new rules. These petitions include requests to allow for circumvention of TPMs to provide more equitable access to copyrighted material, expand users’ legal rights to repair video games, increase access to data on personal medical devices, provide for a greater ability to service medical devices, and permit the unlocking of devices other than phones which connect to 4G and 5G.

Brigham Young University (“BYU”) has participated in the rulemaking process in the past, and has again submitted a proposal this year which it plans to brief in a public comment. BYU’s petition seeks to expand the ability of educators and educational institutions to circumvent TPMs on DVDs and Blu-rays in order to use motion pictures in classes without a physical DVD or Blu-ray disc.

In spring 2021, the USCO will hold a public hearing before its final ruling is promulgated. This hearing will be available through video conferencing and live streaming. Whether in person participation will be allowed has yet to be determined. Any interested party can view the proposals and make comments to the USCO using the system.