Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works

The Department of Commerce’s Internet Policy Task Force will host a public meeting on Consumer Messaging in Connection with Online Transactions Involving Copyrighted Works on April 18, 2017, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting will be webcast, and members of the public will have opportunities to participate.

In its January 2016 White Paper on Remix, First Sale, and Statutory Damages, the Task Force concluded that when consumers download copies of works (such as eBooks, music, and motion pictures), they do not appear to have a clear understanding of what they can legally do with those copies. It also determined that consumers may benefit from having more information about the nature of their transactions related to copyrighted works delivered online—including whether they are paying for access to content or for ownership of a copy—to instill greater confidence and enhance participation in the online marketplace.  The Task Force is therefore convening this meeting to facilitate a dialogue about ways to improve consumers’ understanding of license terms and restrictions in connection with online transactions involving copyrighted works.

The meeting will focus on identifying what copyright-related terms and conditions are important to communicate to consumers in the online environment. Some examples of possible terms include: ownership (i.e., whether ownership is transferred); use restrictions (e.g., restrictions on copying, limits to a certain number of viewings); and/or transfer conditions (e.g., restrictions on resale).  Moreover, the meeting will address alternatives to the “buy” button for transactions that are not sales, as well as possible best practices to inform consumers about the relevant terms relating to intellectual property rights. The goal is to explore issues and facilitate a discussion, and to determine in what ways government can be of assistance.

Federal Register Notice:
Additional details about the meeting are in a Federal Register Notice, which was published on March 21, 2017.

Registration is free and is required to attend the meeting in person in Alexandria. The meeting will be open to members of the public to attend, space permitting, on a first-come, first-served basis.  Registration is available online in advance of the meeting at the link below. Registration may also be available on site on the day of the meeting, space permitting.  Persons who have pre-registered (and received confirmation) will have seating held until 15 minutes before the program begins. Register to attend .

The public meeting will be available for viewing via live 
webcast here. Please use the following event number (643 206 132) and event password (W3YJpWXB).

A final agenda is available here.

Additional information:
The registration website provides additional information about directions and accommodations. For non-press inquiries, please contact Linda Quigley, Attorney-Adviser, Office of Policy and International Affairs (Copyright), USPTO.