Last week, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force asked for comments on the relationship between the protection of copyrighted content on the Internet and the effect of such protections on technology innovation and the expectations of consumers. The purpose of the inquiry is to develop a report to be circulated among the various government departments that have power over the enforcement of copyrights and the development of rules and regulations that deal with copyrighted materials – to essentially develop government policy in this area. While the request for comments dwell on the concerns about copyright infringement that are raised by many Internet applications, the proceeding will obviously be controversial among media companies. Many of these companies are concerned about the unauthorized use of their content on various websites, while other media companies (or divisions of the same media companies who are concerned about the unauthorized use of content) are concerned about too tight restrictions on the use of copyrighted content and how that will impact various websites, especially those that feature user-generated content.
Comments in this proceeding are due by November 19. Very specific filing requirements are contained in the notice. Companies interested in protecting their content, as well as those concerned with the impact on their businesses from a change in current policies, should file comments by that date. While changes in some of the current policies require changes in the law that only Congress can make, this proceeding can impact the Administration’s legislative agenda. So express your opinions.