January 22, 2022

New Report From U.S. Copyright Office: “Software-Enabled Consumer Products” Report

From the U.S. Copyright Office:

The U.S. Copyright Office today released its report “Software-Enabled Consumer Products.” The report follows a year-long process, during which the Office studied how copyright law interacts with software-enabled consumer products, from cars, to refrigerators, to cellphones, to thermostats, and more. Requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the report explores the various legal doctrines that apply to this subset of software, which is increasingly present in everyday life, including important copyright doctrines such as fair use, merger, scènes à faire, first sale, and the section 117 exemptions. The report focuses on specific issues raised in the public comments and hearings, including how copyright law affects licensing, resale, repair and tinkering, security research, and interoperability.

The Copyright Office’s report found that current legal doctrines support a wide range of legitimate uses of the embedded software in consumer products while also recognizing the importance of copyright protection to the creation and distribution of innovative products. The report provides a thorough review of the existing legal framework with respect to software embedded in consumer products, but it does not recommend legislative changes at this time.

Direct to Full Text Report and Executive Summary (94 pages; PDF)

See Also: Additional Materials (Notice of Inquiry, Roundtable Transcripts, Public Comments, etc.)

Software-Enabled Consumer Products: A Report of the Register Of Copyrights by LJ's infoDOCKET on Scribd

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.