After only generating a few dozen comments for most of the three-month comment period, the government’s DMCA Safe Harbor consultation suddenly attracted public attention in a big way after “Nostalgia Critic” Doug Walker’s Channel Awesome noticed it and launched a last-minute campaign a couple of days ago, urging people to comment while they still had the chance.
TorrentFreak reports that in the last 24 hours of the comment period, the government site received over 50,000 comments, crashing the site repeatedly. Activists are calling for the deadline to be extended to permit people who only just learned about the matter to have their say.
It’s fortunate for all concerned that activist groups found out about the matter while there was still any time left at all for people to get comments in. It also suggests the government might need to figure out some better way to get the word out—if enough people cared enough about the issue to deluge the site with 50,000 comments over the course of a single day, how many more might they have gotten if the activists had learned about it when it was originally announced?
Hopefully this rush of comments will at least convince the Copyright Office that the DMCA’s safe harbor provision needs some serious reexamination and revision. As long as corporate interests are able to abuse the law, it will have the potential to harm anyone who creates their own content—whether that’s YouTube videos or self-published e-books.