The DMCA exemptions

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been praised by some, vilified by others. Many don’t know that the DMCA specifically allows copying of protected works by researchers, libraries, nonprofits, and academic institutions. Also, the Librarian of Congress is required to issue exemptions from the prohibition against circumvention of access-control technology when such technology prevents people from making non-infringing uses of copyrighted works. The current exemptions, issued just last week are described below. Note that all of these allowable uses assume that the person copying the work has purchased the work or has otherwise rightfully obtained it.

  1. To copy short portions of movie DVDs for the purpose of criticism or comment, specifically:
    • Educational uses
    • Documentary filmmaking
    • Noncommercial videos
  2.  To enable computer programs that allow cell phones to run software applications written for other cell phones (known as “jailbreaking” or “rooting”).
  3. To enable computer programs that allow used cell phones to connect to a phone network as long as it is authorized by the operator of the network.
  4. To run video games on personal computers for the purpose of testing for, investigating, or correcting security flaws or vulnerabilities.
  5. To bypass broken or obsolete dongles that prevent a program from running.
  6. To enable an ebook’s read-aloud function or screen readers that convert the text into a specialized format.