Innovation Asset Blog

Copyright critics set sights on additional DMCA rules

Digital rights activists have already enjoyed a strong start to 2013 and are only looking to build on that momentum in the coming months. After engineering a grassroots lobbying effort, which ultimately convinced White House and Federal Communications Commission officials to reconsider the ban on cell phone unlocking, open source software entrepreneur Sina Khanifar is seeking broader changes to Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provisions.

According to TechCrunch, the controversy centers on Section 1201 of the DMCA, which vests the Library of Congress with the authority to define exemptions for certain consumer copyright issues. Most recently, the government body ruled that unlocking cell phones to facilitate switching between carriers should be banned in accordance with current copyright laws. But as the Khanifar-led petition suggested, such restrictions would reduce consumer choice, decrease product resale values and potentially subject subscribers to "exorbitant" roaming fees when making calls abroad.

Joined by such supporters as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, Y Combinator and Reddit, Khanifar has created a new advocacy website dedicated to objectively highlighting the potentially adverse consequences of certain DMCA codes moving forward.

This determined effort still faces several formidable foes, according to Ars Technica, and supporters would be wise to prepare for a long, uphill battle against entertainment industry leaders who are staunch supporters of the DMCA's anti-piracy enforcement mechanisms. Nevertheless, these developments have provided encouragement for digital innovators hoping to affect regulatory change in a bottom-up rather than top-down capacity.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.