Digital media and the internet have intensified the conflict between copyright and fair use. Technical restraints on copying, as well as the multiplicy of media formats, can interfere with users' fair use rights and with artists' freedom to create. At the same time, the web has made the theft of intellectual property easier. Recent attempts by the U.S. government to grapple with these issues:
- National Internet Policy Task Force. The National Technical Information Service, a division of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, "is conducting a comprehensive review of the relationship between the availability and protection of online copyrighted works and innovation in the Internet economy". Requests for comments and explanation of the purpose appeared in the Federal Register; additional information is available.
- Digital Millenium Copyright Act. The DMCA (sections 512 and 1201 of the Copyright Act) released internet service providers from liability for illegal content and made it illegal to circumvent software antipiracy features or to manufacture code-cracking software that would facilitate unlawful copying. Other provisions include liabilty exemptions for libraries and educational institutions.Every three years, the Librarian of Congress, in conjuction with the Copyright Office, may promulgate regulations that create certain fair use exemptions from the Digitial Millenium Copyright Act restrictions.The most recent exemptions were published October 26, 2012. More coverage was given to the Librarian of Congress's decision to remove a mobile phone unlocking exemption, while continuing an exemption that allows smartphone users to download applications not approved by the device manufacturer.