Journal of Law and Policy


Tyler Bloom


This Note both explores the mechanisms and incentive structures that make “copyright hacking” possible and explains the legal system’s failure to provide recourse for victims of successful “copyright hacks” by police officers. Because the DMCA has failed to keep pace with the internet’s exponential growth, OSPs, such as YouTube, have developed filtering systems that can be exploited to “copyright hack” users and ultimately suppress their speech. A victim of “copyright hacking” by a police officer currently has no recourse; the doctrine of qualified immunity functionally precludes them from suing for violating their First Amendment rights. This Note proposes two possible solutions to “copyright hacking.” First, the Copyright Office should require that OSPs register their proprietary copyright filtering systems to ensure that they comply with the standards of fair use. Second, the Supreme Court should hold that recording public police activity is protected speech under the First Amendment; by doing so, plaintiffs who are “copyright hacked” would avoid having their claims dismissed due to a defendant officer’s use of qualified immunity.