Legislative Updates November 2015

Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)

  • CISA allows companies to share, without warrant, a�?cybersecurity threat dataa�? with the Department of Homeland Security, who may then share the information with other governmental agencies. As currently written CISA does not clearly outline what constitutes a cybersecurity threat, leading many to believe that information will be shared without reasonable suspicion of threatening activity.
  • CISA would allow large-scale collection of user data, threatening the publica��s online privacy.
  • October 28, 2015: CISA passed through the Senate without amendments proposed by Senators Leahy and Franken (among others) that would reduce threats to personal privacy.
  • The House and Senate must negotiate and pass a single bill before CISA moves forward. There are members of both the Senate and House who support increasing privacy protection before passage; ALA and other privacy advocates are hopeful significant changes will be made before the President ultimately chooses to veto or pass the bill into law. Veto is unlikely as the White House supported the bill in August.
  • No further CISA action is expected before late 2015/early 2016.


Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

  • Under Section 1201 of the DMCA (passed in 1998), you are legally prevented from examining, decrypting, or bypassing digital locks placed on software. Companies are allowed to protect codes on personally-owned items such as cars, cell phones, medical devices, etc.
  • Exemption requests to 1201 are allowed every 3 years, but most are declined. The Copyright Office will soon decide if automobiles will be exempt, but there is little hope it will be granted.


Google Books

  • October 2015: Googlea��s book digitization project has been officially cleared of copyright infringement accusations.
  • Google has been involved in lawsuits and subsequent appeals for 10 years, with many authors and publishers opposed to the digitization project. Google Books and its many supporters claim that because the service does not provide access to full the text of copyrighted material it constitutes Fair Use. Further, they make the argument that the service serves to increase discoverability and awareness of printed works, ultimately benefiting authors and publishers.

About John Pell

John Pell is an assistant professor and librarian at Hunter College in New York City.

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