Earlier this week, I expressed disappointment in the lack of information to be found on FixCopyright.com, a website recently launched by copyright reform activist Derek Khanna. Today, I stumbled across another website advocating copyright reform, the similarly-titled FixTheDMCA.org.
Unlike FixCopyright.org, which as of this writing remains a mere email harvester page, FixTheDMCA.org is pretty specific about the changes its creators would like to see. The site’s primary focus is calling for changes to section 1201 of the DMCA, the section that regulates circumvention of copyright protection systems, to make unlocking one’s cell phone explicitly legal.
That’s not the only reform that FixTheDMCA.org calls for; others including making the following items “clearly and permanently legal”:
– jailbreaking phones, tablets, game consoles and other electronics
– screen reading software for the blind
– software and hardware modifications and repairs to products that have been legally purchased
While I have reservations about some of these proposed reforms, I find them far less radical and worrisome than many others that I have seen calls for in the pas — like the outright abolishing of copyright altogether, for instance.
The way I see it, some manner of copyright reform is inevitable, given how fundamentally current and emerging technologies are changing the way we create, consume, distribute and redistribute data and intellectual property these days. As such, it makes sense to me that the best place to start the discussion is with the least controversial reforms, as these are the areas where some sort of compromise seems most feasible.
I’ll be watching the campaigns from FixTheDMCA.org and FixCopyright.com with great interest. Movements like these are very likely to play a big role in the development of future public policy concerning intellectual property law, so wherever you might fall in the ongoing debate over the role of copyright in the Internet Age, tracking the progress of these campaigns could give you a good idea of which way the winds of change are poised to blow.