Department of Commerce’s Copyright Report Emphasizes the Importance of Creative Works

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Yesterday, the Department of Commerce and the Internet Policy Task Force (which includes experts from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Patent and Trademark Office, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the International Trade Administration) released a report on the importance of protecting creativity and innovative content through copyright policy. The report, which concluded a study begun in April 2010 and is titled “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy,” emphasized the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to protecting copyrighted content including creative solutions and partnerships between Internet companies and the content community.

CCI not only agrees with many of the report’s findings but also was pleased to see such a strong emphasis on the value of creative content in our digital society and economy as well as a focus on promoting fair, balanced and reasonable solutions that seek to protect that value while preserving core principles, such free expression and privacy. Our voluntary system, the Copyright Alert System (CAS), is centered on the same belief and the importance of emphasizing that value through multi-stakeholder efforts. From the beginning, our goal has always been, and will continue to be, to educate consumers about the importance of copyright protection while helping them to find ways to enjoy content safely and legally.

The report also emphasizes the growing importance of collaborative industry approaches to copyright protection.  We were pleased that the authors of the report highlighted the CAS as a positive example of the kind of multi-stakeholder, voluntary effort that should be encouraged:

 “In the United States, the existing DMCA obligation to terminate accounts of repeat infringers has been supplemented by a voluntary Copyright Alert System spelling out a process for handling repeat infringement short of termination… [CAS is] a common framework and best practices for alerting and educating subscribers about copyright infringement and taking measures to deter those who ignore repeated alerts…. The Administration has encouraged this type of private agreement and supported this initiative.” (page 72)

Navigating a balance between private sector and government solutions is important as we think through the best ways to protect copyrighted content in a digital age.