Monday, November 2, 1998
Volume 34, Issue 44; ISSN: 0511-4187
Statement on signing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
William J Clinton
� October 28, 1998
� Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 2281, the "Digital
Millennium Copyright Act." This Act implements two landmark treaties
that were successfully negotiated by my Administration in 1996 and
to which the Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on
service providers for copyright infringement under certain
� The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright
Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty mark the most
extensive revision of international copyright law in over 25 years.
The treaties will grant writers, artists, and other creators of
copyrighted material global protection from piracy in the digital
� These treaties will become effective at a time when technological
innovations present us with great opportunities for the global
distribution of copyrighted works. These same technologies, however,
make it possible to pirate copyrighted works on a global scale with
a single keystroke. The WIPO treaties set clear and firm
standards-obligating signatory countries to provide "adequate legal
protection" and "effective legal remedies" against circumvention of
certain technologies that copyright owners use to protect their
works, and against violation of the integrity of copyright
management information. This Act implements those standards,
� I am advised by the Department of Justice that certain provisions
of H.R. 2281 and the accompanying Conference Report regarding the
Register of Copyrights raise serious constitutional concerns.
Contrary to assertions in the Conference Report, the Copyright
Office is, for constitutional purposes, an executive branch entity.
Accordingly, the Congress may exercise its constitutionally
legitimate oversight powers to require the Copyright Office to
provide information relevant to the legislative process. However, to
direct that Office's operations, the Congress must act in accord
with the requirements of bicameralism and presentment prescribed in
Article I of the Constitution. Further, the Congress may not require
the Register to act in a manner that would impinge upon or undermine
the President's discretion under Article II, section 3 of the
Constitution to determine which, if any, executive branch
recommendations to the Congress would be "necessary and expedient."
Accordingly, I will construe sections 103(a), 104(b), 401(b), and
403(a) of H.R. 2281 to require the Register to perform duties only
insofar as such requirements are consistent with these
� From the efforts of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and
Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks who acted as the lead
negotiator for these treaties, to the agreement reached by interests
affected by online service provider liability, to the improvements
added by two House Committees and one Senate Committee, this Act
reflects the diligence and talents of a great many people. Through
enactment of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have done our
best to protect from digital piracy the copyright industries that
comprise the leading export of the United States.
� William J. Clinton
� The White House,
� October 28, 1998.
� NOTE: H.R. 2281, approved October 28, was assigned Public Law No.
10-04. An original was not available for verification of the content
of this statement.