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Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy

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Citation Edit

U.S. Department of Commerce, Internet Policy Task Force, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy (July 2013) (the "Green Paper") (full-text).

Overview Edit


The Department of Commerce has a vision of a digital future in which the relationship among digital technology, the Internet, and creative industries becomes increasingly symbiotic: in which the rights of creators and copyright owners are appropriately protected; creative industries continue to make their substantial contributions to the Nation's economic competitiveness; online service providers continue to expand the variety and quality of their offerings; technological innovation continues to thrive; and consumers have access to the broadest possible range of creative content. We believe these goals are compatible and can be achieved together.

The paper does not purport to provide an exhaustive catalog of all issues relating to copyright in the online environment, but outlines the major issues that are making their way through the courts, merit further attention, or require solutions. With respect to those issues not currently being addressed elsewhere, the paper proposes next steps — some involving potential legislative changes, but many based on voluntary private sector initiatives. The foreword describes the Green Paper as "a lens through which to assess current policy related to copyright and the Internet" and "a blueprint for further action."

The Task Force's recommendations fall into three broad categories and can be summarized as follows:

(1) Updating the balance of rights and exceptions.
(a) The Task Force urges Congress to better rationalize the public performance right for sound recordings. We reiterate the Administration's support for extending the right to cover broadcasting, and urge that any reassessment of the appropriateness of different rate-setting standards for different types of digital music services take into account the impact on creators and right holders as well as on different types of services;
(b) The Task Force will solicit public comment and convene roundtables on issues related to the creation of remixes and the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; and
(c) The Task Force will support and provide input to the Copyright Office as it moves forward with its work on updating the library exception in Section 108 and examining the issues of orphan works and mass digitization.
(2) Assessing and improving enforcement tools to combat online infringement and promote the growth of legitimate services while preserving the essential functioning of the Internet.
(a) The Task Force repeats the Administration's prior call for Congress to enact legislation adopting the same range of penalties for criminal streaming of copyrighted works to the public as now exists for criminal reproduction and distribution;
(b) The Task Force will solicit public comment and convene roundtables regarding the application of statutory damages in the context of individual file-sharers and secondary liability for large-scale online infringement;
(c) The Task Force will establish a multi-stakeholder dialogue on how to improve the operation of the DMCA's notice and takedown system;
(d) The Task Force supports the Copyright Office's improvement of the DMCA database of designated agents, as well as its examination of possible small claims procedures that can assist individual creators and SMEs in enforcing their rights online;
(e) The Task Force supports and encourages the development of appropriate voluntary private sector initiatives to improve online enforcement, and will monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of such initiatives to determine whether additional action should be considered; and
(f) The Task Force encourages enhancing public education and outreach efforts to inform consumers about both rights and exceptions and to encourage the use of legitimate online services.
(3) Realizing the potential of the Internet as a legitimate marketplace for copyrighted works and as a vehicle for streamlining licensing.
(a) The Task Force will provide input into any Congressional review of music licensing, particularly with respect to the mechanical license for musical compositions;
(b) The Task Force supports the Copyright Office's work in improving the registration and recordation systems and supports the provision of enhanced incentives for using these systems; and
(c) The Task Force will solicit public comment and convene roundtables regarding an appropriate role for the government, if any, to help to improve the online licensing environment.

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