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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

Biden confronts mounting humanitarian crisis at the border

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images     

Just over a month into his presidency, President Biden is staring down a mounting crisis at the border that could be just as bad as the ones faced by Barack Obama and Donald Trump, if not worse.

Why it matters: Immigration is an issue that can consume a presidency. It's intensely and poisonously partisan. It's complicated. And the lives and welfare of vulnerable children hang in the balance.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The rise of vaccine passports

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Vaccine passports were touted early in the pandemic as an important piece of the plan to get people back to normal life. Now they’re becoming a reality.

Driving the news: CLEAR, the secure digital identity app that you see in airports around the world, and CommonPass, a health app that lets users securely access vaccination records and COVID test results, have joined forces.

"Vaccine tourism" stretches states' supplies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans who are highly motivated to get vaccinated are traveling across state lines after hearing about larger vaccine supplies or loopholes in sign-up systems.

Why it matters: "Vaccine tourism" raises ethical and legal questions, and could worsen the racial socioeconomic and racial inequalities of the pandemic.