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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The process to get unlicensed versions of movies, music and other content taken off the internet isn't working as intended and should be updated, the Copyright Office said in an expansive report Thursday.

The big picture: Updating that system would require an act of Congress, which can now look to the Copyright Office's conclusions as it considers legislating on the matter.

Driving the news: In its report, the office found the system for notice and takedown of infringing materials is unbalanced and out of sync with Congress' intent when it established the process in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

  • The DMCA includes liability protection for online companies whose users illegally upload copyrighted material if the online companies take down the material when they are notified by the rights-holder.
  • Copyright holders have complained that this process doesn't proactively protect their intellectual property against online infringement, and the report appears to agree, concluding "Congress’ original intended balance has been tilted askew."

The report doesn't recommend wholesale changes to the process, but does highlight areas of the DMCA that may need updating.

  • They include the criteria for determining who gets to be immune from liability and policies intended to deter repeat offenders, which the Copyright Office concluded may not be working.

What's next: The Senate Judiciary intellectual property subcommittee began a series of hearings examining the DMCA earlier this year, with plans to draft changes to the law by the end of 2020.

Go deeper

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Friday had already reached 61.7% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.

Republicans gear up for day-of and post-Election Day litigation

Voters wait in line to cast their early ballots Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican Party officials say they're already looking to Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Nevada as likely battlegrounds for post-election lawsuits if the results are close.

The big picture: As pre-election lawsuits draw to a close, and with President Trump running behind Joe Biden in national and many battleground state polls, Republicans are turning their attention to preparations for Election Day and beyond, and potential recounts.