Since April of this year, the Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force has been examining the intersection between privacy, copyright, global free flow of information, cybersecurity, and innovation in the Internet economy by holding various symposia and public meetings on such topics and issuing a numbers of Notices of Inquiry (“NOI”). The findings from this review are expected to inform a report that the Internet Policy Task Force will issue, and which is intended to contribute to the Administration’s policy on online privacy, copyright, and innovation.
This report will also likely play into the dialogue on such topics already underway in Congress and at the Federal Trade Commission. Most recently as part of this initiative, the Internet Policy Task Force on October 5, 2010 published a NOI requesting comments on the relationship between the availability and protection of online copyrighted materials and innovation in the Internet economy.7 Commerce Department Secretary Locke highlighted some of the complexities in this area when he stated upon the release of the NOI, “Our ongoing challenge and commitment is to align the flexibility needed for innovation in the Internet economy with effective means of protecting copyrighted works that are accessible online.”8
The NOI generally seeks comments directed at rights holders, Internet intermediaries, and Internet users. More specifically, the NOI asks stakeholders to comment upon such topics as: (1) how policy and intellectual property laws should best be structured to promote legitimate businesses and address online infringement; (2) what the role and responsibilities of Internet intermediaries should be in taking actions against purported infringing material; and (3) how Internet users can be better informed about legitimate sources of access to online copyrighted works. Comments are due November 19, 2010.