USPTO/NTIA Notice of Comment Period: Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy

Professor Williams mentioned this in his impressively and refreshingly balanced blog post earlier today, but I just wanted to post separately, highlighting his mention of the PTO and NTIA’s Notice of Comment Period—“Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy”—which opened today and ends 11/19/2010.

The three main categories that they are seeking comment on are “Rights Holders: Protection and Detection Strategies for Online Infringement,” “Internet Intermediaries: Safe Harbors and Responsibilities,” and “Internet Users: Consumers of Online Works and User-Generated Content.”

I appreciate the recognition of a “top priority to ensure that the Internet remains open for innovation” and the public policy imperative “to sustain innovative uses of information and information technology,” rather than the sole focus being preventing online copyright infringement without regard to the effects on the public interest.

As a fair use enthusiast, I was pleased to see that fair use was mentioned once in the text: “How can these policies advance these goals while respecting the myriad legitimate ways to exchange non-copyrighted information (or the fair use of copyrighted works) on the Internet?”  Fair use also made a surprising appearance in footnote #6, which accompanied the statement that “[a]n important component of the growth in e-commerce is the rapid increase in the sale of digital content across the creative industries.”  The text of Footnote #6 included the somewhat questioning but still important statement that “[t]he fair use of copyrighted works is also believed to contribute to the Internet economy”; this was cited to CCIA’s report on fair use (Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Fair Use in the U.S. Economy: Economic Contribution of Industries Relying on Fair Use, at 4, 8 (2010), Files/Filename/000000000354/fair-use-study-final.pdf).  The report’s recognition of CCIA’s findings on the merits of fair use is very significant, in my opinion.

While the paper does mention ACTA once, it was in passing, and did not appear to be a substantial consideration, which may have been strategic; it is not clear.

I hope that friends and followers of PIJIP can contribute to this comment period, and provide their important views on copyright policy, creativity, and innovation.


This post was written by Ali Sternburg (PIJIP Dean’s Fellow; IP Law Society President; IP Brief Senior Marketing Manager).

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