Challenges to US Copyright Law


US Copyright law is facing challenge on the basis of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, as it is allegedly breaching the freedom of expression. Issues on the constitutionality of this law have been brought before the court by Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of two individuals.

Concerns revolve around Article 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s broad prohibition of the circumvention of access control measures. In effect, this section of the law prohibits actions to ‘manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof’ that is designed to ‘circumvent’ DRM or other ‘technological protection measures’.

The Compliant in question, Matthew Green, Andrew Huang, Alphamax LLC v U.S. Department of Justice, Loretta Lynch, Library of Congress, Carla Hayden and U.S. Copy Right Office, Maria Pallante points out that while the Supreme Court has long stated that fair use is the ‘safety valve’ that stops copyright law from violating the First Amendment in regulating speech, fair use is not an allowable defence under Article 1201.

One would expect that the outcome of this case is capable of revolutionising the rationale behind the US copyright legislation which as controversial as it may be, had acquired a long standing status of strict approach towards the copyrights.