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Communications of the ACM

Legally speaking

New Exemptions to Anti-Circumvention Rules

New Exemptions to Anti-Circumvention Rules, illustration

Credit: X-Ray Pictures

Every three years, the U.S. Copyright Office opens a new inquiry into whether the law that bars circumvention of technical protection measures (TPMs) used by copyright owners to protect access to their works are impeding lawful uses of the works. Those who propose exemptions to the anti-circumvention rules must offer substantial evidence that TPMs are thwarting lawful uses.

After examining this evidence, the Copyright Office recommends to the Librarian of Congress that he should grant certain specific exemptions for the ensuing three years. A new application will be necessary in the next rule-making cycle to extend the exemption beyond the three-year term.


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