Update 8/2023: It looks like no one opposed the renewal request (celebrate the absence of opposition comments listed at the bottom of this page). That should mean that the renewal is approved when this process wraps up in a few months. I’ll post an update when that happens, or if something looks like it might prevent it from happening.

Once again, it is time for the US Copyright Office to revisit its decision to legalize breaking Digital Rights Management (DRM) for specific purposes. The default rule in the United States is that breaking digital locks on copyright-protected works is illegal, so the every-three-year Copyright Office process is designed to create exemptions for groups with good reasons to break those digital locks.

In the past, I have helped to create an exemption for breaking DRM that prevents you from using whatever material you want in your 3D printer (here are all of the previous posts discussing that process). Last time around, I helped tweak some of the language in that exemption in order to make it as clear as possible.

This time around could be very straightforward. I’ve just submitted a request to renew the current exemption without any changes. If no one opposes the request, the Copyright Office could recommend it be renewed without any additional work. That would mean it stays legal to break DRM if you want to use materials of your choice in a 3D printer. However, if someone does oppose the renewal, or the Copyright Office declines to recommend renewal for any reason, it will trigger a more expansive process.

I’m hopeful that the request will end up being uncontroversial and the Copyright Office recommends renewal. While there have been companies opposed to the exemption in the past, that opposition dropped off in the most recent cycle.

The Copyright Office maintains a page for this process where you can track all of the exemption requests. Oppositions to renewal requests are due towards the end of the summer, which is probably the next opportunity for any news. I will post about any updates when they come.

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