Joseph Perry, Esq.
Senators Tillis and Leahy Introduce Copyright Piracy Bill
Earlier this week, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies (SMART) Copyright Act of 2022.
For some background, when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed in the 1998, online service providers didn't have to pay for piracy that their systems facilitated, if the OSP's worked with copyright owners to create what are called "standardized technical measures" (STM) to remove pirated content. The thinking was by providing OSPs safe harbor immunity, they would be incentivized to work with rights holders to create effective technological measures to combat piracy. However, the collaboration never happened. That's because OSPs could risk losing their immunity if an STM was created, and the courts did not enforce losing safe harbors for the OSPs.
So for two decades, piracy has essentially run rampant. This bill tries to stop the ongoing piracy by authorizing the Librarian Of Congress to designate STMs that OSPs can adopt to limit their liability when unauthorized works are republished on their platforms. In particular, it allows OSPs to adopt certain types of STMs for different creative industries (for example, a different set of STMs for publishing, another set for music, etc.). Failure to implement the STMs would make the service providers liable for actual or statutory damages, instead of losing their safe harbor.
For the bill's text, click here.