This Week in Washington IP: Fair Use and the DMCA, the PACT Act’s Impact on Section 230 and AI Tech for National Security week in Washington IP news, technology and innovation hearings are in full swing on Tuesday and get started with a Senate IP Subcommittee hearing on the DMCA’s effects on the fair use regime under U.S. law, one of a series of hearings on DMCA modernization being held by that subcommittee this year. That same day, the Senate Energy Committee explores R&D in large-scale carbon management technologies and the Senate Communications Subcommittee discusses potential impacts to limited liability provisions for online service providers if the PACT Act passes into law. The House Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing to review telework policies in the private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The week ends early on Wednesday with a pair of events hosted by the Brookings Institution which focus on national security policymaking in the AI era as well as ways that financial technology can improve payment systems for wage earners, especially low-income individuals who need those payments quickly.

Tuesday, July 28

Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property 

How Does the DMCA Contemplate Limitations and Exceptions Like Fair Use?

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

U.S. copyright law recognizes a fair use defense to claims of copyright infringement which eliminates liability to infringement for uses based on various factors like the educational purpose of that otherwise infringing use or transformation of the copyrighted content into an original work with creative expression. Certain provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (ACT), including Section 1201’s prohibitions against the circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) meant to prevent certain types of copying and distribution of digital content, have rankled fair use advocates who feel that the DMCA’s protection of TPMs prevents fair uses of copyrighted content online. The first witness panel in this hearing, the latest in a series of Senate IP Subcommittee hearings on DMCA modernization, will include Sherwin Siy, Lead Public Policy Manager, Wikimedia Foundation; Mickey H. Osterreicher, General Counsel, National Press Photographers Association; Jane C. Ginsburg, Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law, Columbia University School of Law; and Christopher Mohr, Vice President for Intellectual Property and General Counsel, Software and Information Industry Association. The second panel of this hearing will include Rick Beato, Songwriter, Producer, Engineer, and Educator; Yolanda Adams, Grammy Award-Winning Artist and Recording Academy Trustee; Joseph C. Gratz, Partner, Durie Tangri LLP; Matthew Sanderson, Co-Lead, Political Law Group, Caplin & Drysdale; and Jacqueline Charlesworth, Partner, Alter, Kendrick & Baron LLP.

Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet 

The PACT Act and Section 230: The Impact of the Law That Helped Create the Internet and an Examination of Proposed Reforms for Today’s Online World

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 106 Dirksen.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which limits liability to online service providers related to content uploaded to those platforms by third-party users, has held an important place in the U.S. legal framework regarding Internet communications. This statute could be in tension with H.R. 724, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which would create criminal liability under federal code for the online distribution of certain videos displaying acts of animal cruelty, if the PACT Act is passed into law. The witness panel for this hearing will include the Honorable Christopher Cox, Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, and Director, NetChoice; Jeff Kosseff, Assistant Professor, Cyber Science Department, U.S. Naval Academy; Oliver Sylvain, Professor of Law, Fordham University; and Elizabeth Banker, Deputy General Counsel, Internet Association.

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 

Hearing to Examine Development and Deployment of Large-Scale Carbon Dioxide Management Technologies

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 366 Dirksen.

This July, the International Energy Agency issued a clean innovation report which discussed ways to support clean energy R&D through various stages from prototype through full maturity for a particular technology. The report also discussed ways that governments can support this R&D pipeline other than funding research efforts, such as by setting national objectives that help determine market expectations and investing in enabling infrastructure. The witness panel for this hearing will include the Honorable Steven Winberg, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy; the Honorable Ernest J. Moniz, President and CEO, Energy Futures Initiative, Inc.; the Honorable Joseph Hezir, Principal, Energy Futures Initiative, Inc.; Shannon Angielski, Executive Director, Carbon Utilization Research Council; Dr. S. Julio Friedmann, Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia University; and Sasha Mackler, Director, The Energy Project, Bipartisan Policy Center. 

House Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management

Modernizing Telework: Review of Private Sector Telework Policies During the COVID-19 Pandemic

At 2:30 PM on Tuesday, online video webinar.

Thanks to video and audio conferencing technologies made widely available through the Internet, the global economy has had a decent opportunity to continue despite the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 era. However, data on telework published in March by the Pew Research Center showed that only 7 percent of private sector employees have access to telework options, and that such options have only been increasing for the top 25 percent of wage earners. The witness panel for this hearing will include Seán D. Morris, Principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP; T. Lane Wilson, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, The Williams Companies, Inc.; Michael Ly, CEO, Reconciled; and John Zanni, CEO, Acronis SCS.

Wednesday, July 29

The Brookings Institution

Fixing America’s Payment System: The Role of Banks and Fintech

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

Check and money processing systems have major impacts on American families who rely on those systems to ensure that they receive their employment wages in a timely fashion. Any negative impacts caused by delays are exacerbated for the poor, who need those wages quickly to pay for essentials like food and rent. The incorporation of digital payment systems that can accelerate the distribution of cash to wage-earning Americans has been touted as a potential solution to ensuring that payments are facilitated quickly to meet those needs. This event, hosted by the Brookings Center on Regulation and Markets, will begin with an introduction by Aaron Klein, Fellow, Economic Studies, and Director, Center on Regulation and Markets. The event will feature a presentation on ways to improve payment systems with financial technology by Brian Brooks, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

The Brookings Institution

Reorienting National Security for the AI Era

At 2:30 PM on Wednesday, online video webinar.

As the field of artificial intelligence continues to develop mature technologies, the sector will have major impacts on areas related to national security including military operations and cyber defense programs, to name a couple. On July 22, the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), an independent federal commission helping to determine U.S. AI policies, released a report for the second quarter of 2020 which made a total of 35 recommendations on strengthening government efforts to incorporate AI into national security initiatives in areas like government workforce recruiting, State Department diplomacy efforts and advancing AI capabilities within the Department of Defense. This event will feature a discussion with Eric Schmidt, Chair, NSCAI; Robert O. Work, Vice Chair, NSCAI; and John R. Allen, President, The Brookings Institution.


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