GOP Senator Recommends Ditching the DMCA With ‘Some Type of a Notice-and-Staydown System’

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Photo Credit: Markus Winkler

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) has recommended that Congress replace the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) with “some type of a notice-and-staydown system.”

North Carolina’s junior senator, who recently clinched reelection in what was the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history, expressed his reform-minded position on the DMCA in an open letter. At the outset of this comprehensive analysis of the DMCA’s modern-day implications – including 15 multifaceted discussion points – Senator Tillis encouraged “all interested stakeholders” to weigh in on the matter.

The 60-year-old lawmaker will then incorporate pertinent responses and concerns, which are due by Tuesday, December 1st, into a reform-bill draft that he intends to release on Wednesday, December 18th. Respondents should forward their messages to or, the senator stated.

To start, the 15-point letter reflects upon the pertinent information that derived from Senator Tillis’s DMCA reform hearings – including that the “overarching principle” of the effort should “be making digital copyright less one-size-fits-all” to benefit both large and small copyright holders as well as service providers. The inquiry’s next portion centers on the possibility of revising safe-harbor protections for online-service providers (OSPs) based on the far-reaching changes that have arrived since the DMCA’s 1998 passing.

Section three, for its part, emphasizes that the takedown-notice burden is “too heavy” for rights holders and “woefully inefficient for both copyright owners and service providers.” The senator writes: “I believe U.S. copyright law should move towards some type of a notice-and-staydown system.” The updated system could encompass automatic removals when the same media is infringed, “without further prompting” or a new notice of infringement.

Section four elaborates upon the latter point and highlights the possibility of a “repeat infringer policy,” and the fifth section notes the potential associated with revising 512(j) of the DMCA to account for “website-blocking in special circumstances.” These blocking orders may derive from “a special tribunal” and a district court or solely the latter.

The letter’s sixth section floats the idea of transitioning takedown notice and counternotice disputes “to a small claims court rather than federal court,” while section seven relays ways to optimize the dispute system via “standardized web forms” crafted by the Copyright Office.

On the other side of the coin, section eight says that the DMCA reform legislation should counteract online service providers’ amplified takedown responsibilities by discouraging “the over-sending of [takedown] notices…by heightening the requirements for accuracy in notice sending, possibly with stricter requirements and heavier penalties.”

Section nine notes the possibilities of establishing “standard technical measures (STMs),” which are called for in the DMCA but remain absent in practice, and questions stakeholders about their thoughts on these STMs’ authority and power. The 10th section focuses on third-party interests within online-service providers’ agreements and monetization programs, and section 11 builds on the idea by floating the expansion of “temporary exemptions…from the circumvention prohibition” to third parties.

Section 12 concerns changes to permanent exemptions, and section 13 details the prospect of “new permanent exemptions for noninfringing activities that have repeatedly received exemptions in recent triennial rulemakings.” Lastly, section 14 involves possibly streamlining the triennial rulemaking process itself, and the final section of Senator Tillis’s letter describes Congress’s potentially moving “to drop the double-intent standard” of the DMCA’s section 1202, including the removal or alteration of copyright-identification information.

11 Responses

  1. Roberto

    All musicians are now expected to spend their mornings checking in to see which of their songs have been uploaded illegally by fans overnight (without their permission) and then more time sending in DMCA notices to Youtube when in fact they should be spending time writing and recording new songs! Who thought that this was FAIR for hard working musicians??!! Were any musicians consulted about this new way of doing things. Was our Union asked to approve this new way of working? I have thousands of my songs posted up on Youtube now (without my permission) and as a result fans and Youtube make more money than me from my music! Whoever thought that this was fair? But the fans all love Youtube where they can get music for free and then STREAM RIP this music. And so 60% of Pro musicians are forced to leave the music business. Does this affect the quality of music in 2020? Well the fans don’t seem to think so! They think that the additional 800 Million Amateur musicians working in their bedrooms can make music just as good as the Pros! While they are all working day jobs! Thank God this system wasn’t around when the Beatles were rehearsing and recording Sgt. Pepper. And so now the talented people in the music business are the last ones to see any money from their hard work. Seems like the least important people in the Music business are the ones making the music! Big thanks to Tech companies who seem to think that musicians should all work for free. Maybe people who work for Google should try working for free for a couple of years to see how they like it!!

    • Reality

      When Google was founded, the founders created a way to monetize it primarily giving almost everything away for free like they still do today when they pass on those costs to advertisers instead of you. You’re tasked with the same for your business. It’s not up to everyone else to make it possible for you to succeed. But if your current business in music isn’t working, not even the government can help you. One thing tech entrepreneurs learn early on is how to cut your losses when something isn’t working.

    • No comply

      After what you people just tried to do to democracy there is no law you could pass I would ever consider legit or worth following.

  2. Roberto

    Well let’s try “all wine should be free” for a year and see how the wine industry reacts! Have everybody go into Liquor stores and walk out without paying for the wine. Hard to stay in business under these conditions. 70% drop in revenues has killed off 60% of people in our business. I am slowly taking all my music off Youtube but I know many of my songs will be uploaded within days. Do I care if a load of thieves who stream rip my work ever hear any of my music? Of course not! They obviously could care less about artists getting paid, so why should I give a rat’s ass about them?! They can just go listen to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ for free on Youtube, a song that cost $500,000 to record. Hey, I did many gigs with the band Queen, and think it is only fair that those musicians get paid fairly for their time and talent. Good luck making a song like that in this new era of free music!

    • Seemore

      Typical BS, switch to inapt comparison with tangible objects, like wine


      Music is more valuable than ever

      Figure it out — music is awash in new money, drawing serious investment, more rewarding (not less) … if you wake up and adjust your business to match

      What was once the province of head shops is now the territory of multinational public companies and hedge funds drawn by the reality of profit

      It’s not that there’s no money in it — it’s that you are not in the loop .. change your thinking, follow the money and get you some of that!

    • Rev. Isaac Splitnik

      This isn’t about political party. Cool your jets, sparky.

      • Hahaha

        Tillis you can’t even stop people from protesting after you sent the cops after them.

        No ones scared of you.

  3. Anonymous

    You know what I think tillis?

    That COVID should do to you what the elections could not lol