Law professor Mark Schultz testifies before Senate subcommittee on need to modernize internet copyright law


Akron Law Professor Mark F. Schultz was one of eight experts on internet copyright law to testify before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property on Feb. 11 in the first of several hearings intended to lay the groundwork to modernize the influential and controversial 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This week’s hearing focused on two pieces of the law: Section 512, Section 512, which shields internet platforms from liability for pirated content, and Section 1201, which limits defeating of digital copyright protection. Parties on all sides of the issues agree that the DMCA is not working as it was intended and needs reform. But they clash over what should be done.

“The hearing helped set the stage to re-fight some long-running battles over the balance between protecting copyrighted content and keeping the internet open — but at a time where internet companies are already facing a large-scale backlash,” The Verge reported.

Mark F. Schultz

New School of Law Professor Mark F. Schultz is seen here testifying at the Feb. 11 U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property hearing.

In his testimony, Schultz addressed the frustration that content creators have with “the non-stop, widespread copying and uploading of creative works by many users.”

He told the subcommittee: ”Congress enacted the DMCA with good intentions. It sought to foster the growth of the commercial internet by shielding newly emerging online businesses from the obligations that more mature, offline businesses faced. However, those infant industries grew up fast. Now the DMCA no longer nurtures the promise of the future, but, rather, favors some of the world’s most wealthy and powerful businesses.

“It is time to re-balance the scales in favor of a more equitable distribution of burdens that supports both our innovative and creative industries,” Schultz concluded.

Schultz joined Akron Law in January 2020 as the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Chair in Intellectual Property Law and Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Technology. He teaches and writes primarily in the area of intellectual property. He currently serves as chair of the Academic Advisory Board of the Copyright Alliance.

Click here for more information about the subcommittee hearing and to watch a video of the testimony: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act at 22: What is it, why was it enacted, and where are we now.

You can read Schultz’s full written statement online.

Media contact: Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or