I’ve been reading through the initial comments on 1201 for the Copyright Office’s inquiry. One overarching thought: current “winners”—successful exemption proponents—unanimously say the current process is broken. Current losers—unsuccessful exemption opponents—occasionally express openness to minor tweaks, such as a meaningless presumption of renewal if there’s no opposition, but say the process is fine. This rather unusual configuration of complaints suggests something about how inherently skewed the process is: spending roughly 500 hours per exemption (and that’s just on the proponents’ side, excluding opponents and the Copyright Office) to double the word count of last time’s exemption, increasing its complexity and decreasing its utility, is a victory only compared to the even worse alternative.
Also, a small but telling point: The Copyright Alliance touts Anyclip.com as a DRM success: “On this site, users are able to search an online library, which as of December 2011 included access to over 12,000 films and over 50,000 clips. The site allows users to compile clips into playlists (as a professor might wish to do for classroom use) and access the library with any API to incorporate clips into an application that the user is developing.” Except that’s not what the site does in 2016; it’s an ad platform for integrating ads into “premium” clips, not a consumer site allowing users to compile playlists. I guess DRM didn’t prove all that helpful after all. More generally: copyright owners’ business models do not take care of fair use, and it’s past time to stop pretending that they can. (Also, cite checking has relevance beyond law school. Just sayin’.)