Friday, October 23, 2015

Senators Probe Copyright’s Impact on Software-Enabled Devices; Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), 10/23/15

Kit Walsh, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); Senators Probe Copyright’s Impact on Software-Enabled Devices:
"Senators Grassley and Leahy, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary, have published a letter to the Copyright Office asking it to analyze the impact of copyright law on “software-enabled devices” (such as cars, phones, drones, appliances, and many more products with embedded computer systems). This issue is crucial because technology and the law have evolved in a way that no one could have intended when Congress wrote the present copyright laws, and that evolution has restricted customers’ freedoms to repair, understand, and improve on the devices they buy.
Many problems with the current state of the law have been catalogued: Security researchers, patients with networked medical devices, smart phone owners who want to switch carriers or to improve their phones, and auto repair communities have all come forward asking for relief from one of the most problematic laws, Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. And those communities represent just a handful of the twenty-seven categories being considered for exemption from Section 1201 in this one proceeding...
At this time, the senators are not proposing any particular reforms, merely asking the Copyright Office to conduct a study and take input from the public."

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