New Media Rights’ final DMCA Anti-circumvention comments encourage the Copyright Office to protect fair use for all filmmakers

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Today, New Media Rights submitted our final set of comments supporting exemptions that allow filmmakers to bypass encryption and technical protections measures for purposes of making fair use.

Specifically, following testimony in May, the Copyright Office requested definitions of a variety of terms including documentary, documentary-like, non-fiction, fictional, scripted, biopic, “inspired by,” imaginative, and “totally fiction” that were used in the proceeding.

In our responses to the Copyright Office's request, we explain that genre distinctions are not easily made, and that an exemption for all filmmakers is the best way to proceed. 

Testify! Why anti-circumvention exemptions are important for ALL filmmakers

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Filmmakers who want to reuse the culture around them for commentary and criticism need to understand fair use, but that's not the only legal issue they have to worry about. Even if their use is a fair use, the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions make it illegal just to bypass any encryption (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) or Technological Protection Measures (TPM)) that restricts access to that content. This is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds.  Simply accessing content to make a fair use can still be illegal under federal law, even when there is no copyright infringement!

Every 3 years, the Copyright Office considers exemptions to these anti-circumvention provisions.  The process is highly problematic, but right now its the only way to provide any relief from this overreaching law that's been on the books since 1998. This year we submitted comments on three important exemptions (regarding installing software of your choice on your devices, as well as your right to reuse video content under fair use).

On Wednesday May 20, we testified regarding Class 6, which is all about allowing filmmakers to bypass encryption on DVDs, Blu Ray discs, and online sources, to make use of content under fair use.   We want to thank California Western law students Emory Roane and Patrick McManus for their great work helping prepare comments and testimony in this proceeding.

9th Circuit reaffirms the denial of a dangerous preliminary injunction in the case of Garcia v Google

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In November, New Media Rights joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and others in filing an amicus brief urging the 9th Circuit to reaffirm the district court’s denial of a dangerous injunction that forced Google to take down the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video based on a severe misapplication of law. Monday, the court did just that. This decision is particularly good news for the filmmakers whom we work with, but it comes too late for some.

May newsletter: The legal issues today’s journalists, creators, and entrepreneurs share

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The legal issues today’s Journalists, Creators, and Entrepreneurs share
In our 9 year history providing legal services on over 1400 individual matters, we’ve tracked a significant convergence in the legal needs of journalists, creators and entrepreneurs. This convergence is the result of the rise in the importance of nonprofit and independent projects and the common use of the internet as the means of distribution. As a result, a common set of core legal issues has emerged among journalists, creators, and early stage tech entrepreneurs.  Click here to check out the top 10 legal issues these groups share, and to learn about ways you can help us meet the growing demand for legal services.
Become a Organizational Supporter!
If you or your organization are already a Supporter, you know the benefits it brings, and and the tremendous impact you make.  If you aren't a Supporter already, what are you waiting for?  Check out the benefits of being a Supporter here.
 
Year Round Clinic for CWSL students!
We're proud to announce that our Internet & Media Law Clinic will now be offered year round at California Western School of Law!  The clinic provides students with experience working one-on-one with Internet & Media law clients in the field, as well as knowledge and skills regarding regulatory and policy work, scholarship, and public education and outreach. This year, clinic students will help us reach a milestone of providing services on our 1400th matter. We remain an independently funded program, so we also want to thank our individual supporters and foundations that allow us to assist clients and train students.
Applications are now open for fall, and close on June 9th!
 

 

The top 10 legal issues today’s Journalists, Creators, and Entrepreneurs share

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“For too many journalists, one lawsuit could bankrupt them or their newsroom.” -Josh Stearns, GR Dodge Foundation

In our 9 year history providing legal services on over 1400 individual matters, we’ve tracked a significant convergence in the legal needs of journalists, creators and entrepreneurs. This convergence is the result of the rise in the importance of nonprofit and independent projects and the common use of the internet as the means of distribution. As a result, a common set of core legal issues has emerged among journalists, creators, and early stage tech entrepreneurs.  We share the top 10 areas of convergence below.

Photo credit: "A Bridge to Nowhere" by Paolo Crosetto on Flickr, used via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

Déjà vu: Viacom removes Jonathan McIntosh's Daily Show remix with 2nd abusive DMCA takedown notice

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Recently, remix artist Jonathan McIntosh ( a New Media Rights client and Advisory Board member) has been facing off with Viacom. Viacom sent a second abusive DMCA takedown to the same video, despite withdrawing a DMCA takedown back in 2013.  With our help, Jonathan is appealing the takedown and working to restore the video. The incident highlights the many abusive DMCA and copyright related takedowns New Media Rights has seen over the years, often from large media companies like Viacom.  Read more about the case, and how we're helping Jonathan in this post.

February Newsletter -- Getting results: FCC now considering proposal that would actually protect the Open Internet.

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In this months newsletter:

The FCC's proposal to reclassify the Internet under Title II is a big win for the Open Internet!
Recently, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed reclassifation of the internet as a Title II communications service.  If adopted February 26, the proposal would give the FCC the legal authority it needs to preserve and protect the Open Internet. Executive Director Art Neill sat down with KPBS to discuss why the Federal Communication Commission's new Open Internet rules are necessary to ensure a free and open internet




For more on the Net Neutrality debate and what it means for you, check out our latest blog post on Net Neutrality here.

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