On February 9, the News/Media Alliance joined a brief, filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, explaining how section 1201 of the Copyright Act is consistent with, and supportive of First Amendment protections. This brief urges the Court to affirm the lower court decision upholding the copyright law in Green v. DOJ, a long-running challenge filed by a hacker and a security researcher. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which provides copyright holders with a right of action against the circumvention of technical protection measures protecting access to copyrighted works, subject to regulatory exemptions adopted by the Librarian of Congress. In 2019, the lower court dismissed claims based on constitutional overbreadth and prior restraint theories, which are now the subject of this appeal. The brief highlights the importance of both First Amendment and copyright protection to various creative industries, and how section 1201 encourages free expression and has fostered the broad dissemination of speech through legitimate methods by which the public can access content in digital formats. It argues that section 1201 adheres to the traditional contours of copyright and so fits comfortably with First Amendment protections. In addition to the Alliance, the brief was signed by the Association of American Publishers, the Entertainment Software Association, the Motion Picture Association, and the Recording Industry Association of America.
Regan Smith is Senior Vice President & General Counsel at the News/Media Alliance. Previously, Regan served as General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office.