Questions to Consider on First Reading
of 17 U.S.C. § 1201
1. What is the evident purpose of this section? What words or
phrases in the statute require interpretation or might be difficult to apply?
Under what circumstances might difficulties in interpretation arise?
2. How did Congress intend that the Librarian of Congress use his
or her statutory authority under subsection (a)(1)(B) - (E) to make exceptions
to the anti-circumvention rule of subsection (a)(1)(A)? Did Congress'
want to preserve exceptions to copyright protection, including fair use,
as expressed in subsection (c)(1)? Is "fair use" likely to be realistically
available if works are protected by technological measures, and if defeating
those measures gives rise to civil liability separate from liability for
copyright infringement? criminal sanctions? How useful are these regulatory
exceptions likely to be when they apply only to subsection (a)(1), but not
to subsection (a)(2) or (b)?
3. How does the "anti-circumvention rule" of subsection (a)(1) differ
from the "anti-trafficking rules" of subsections (a)(2) and (b)? How
does the "anti-trafficking rule" in subsection (a)(2) differ from the similar
rule in subsection (b)? What do you think Congress had in mind in
adopting three separate rules? Is it clear how they interact? Do they
4. What are the purposes of the exceptions in subsections (e), (f),
(g), and (h)? Would you describe these exceptions as broad or narrow?
Are they clear and easy to apply? Do they provide comfort and
certainty to persons seeking their refuge?
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