Mr. Quinn and Morrissette go to Washington

Next week Gordon Quinn and Jim Morrissette will continue Kartemquin’s long-fought battle for Fair Use, testifying in the Library of Congress Copyright Office. The hearings are part of the triennial rule-making process in which exemptions from the Digital Millenium Copyright Act are granted.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 prohibits the circumvention of technological protection measures, including the encryption technology on DVDs.  Because of this prohibition, many documentary filmmakers who want to make fair use of material, or use public domain material, cannot do so because they can only obtain that material from DVDs--but they are concerned about whether circumventing this technology is illegal.  
Collaborating with lawyers Jack Lerner, (USC), and Michael Donaldson  (International Documentary Association), Gordon and Jim have been laboring for months submitting comments, gathering testimony, and advising council on technical matters.
If the Copyright Office finds that legal uses of a particular class of works are being thwarted by the DMCA, it grants a three-year exemption from DMCA liability for that class of works.  The exemption that this coalition of filmmakers and filmmaker groups seeks will restore their ability to make fair use and to use public domain works in the digital age. As Gordon puts it, “this is a great step in preserving the right of fair use in the digital age, which is a crucial right for a functioning media and democracy.”

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