Ever wonder what sorts of issues you may encounter as a creator or entrepreneur, and when you might want to reach out to a real life lawyer? That’s what our book "Don't Panic: A Legal Guide (in plain english) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals" is all about. This book is designed to help you through the legal issues you may run into as a creator, entrepreneur, or innovator. We focus on issues you may encounter from the inception of your business to the moment (that hopefully doesn’t happen) you get a nasty lawyer letter for the first time. While this book is not a substitute for legal advice, it can serve as a helpful guide to preventing and resolving legal issues.
Our client, the non-profit Brave New Films, has created a powerful, eye-opening documentary about gun violence in America entitled Making a Killing. The New Media Rights team, including law students Erin P. Murphy-Girard and Joshua Pedersen and Executive Director Art Neill, worked closely with Brave New Films providing key legal services necessary to complete the film.
A great creative project or business starts with a solid legal foundation. Come join us this Thursday May 12 at 5:30pm for a free legal workshop and Q&A at San Diego City College hosted by SD City RTVF - Open to all and will be held in room C211. Brought to you in partnership with the City of San Diego's Office of Economic Development.
The DMCA Section 512 is a critical protection for internet-based services large and small against copyright claims based on user infringement. However, Section 512 creates an easy, out of court process to remove speech from the internet through its notice and takedown provisions. This process is frequently abused to remove otherwise legal content from the internet. We recently proposed legislative reforms that would address key problems with section 512, and shared our firsthand experiences with clients dealing with section 512.
Following up on our recent comments requesting reform of section 1201 of the Copyright Act, last Friday April 1 NMR filed a reply comment with the International Documentary Association, Film Independent, Kartemquin Educational Films, and Indie Caucus.
Section 1201 unecessarily restricts all kinds of otherwise legal reuses of content, including by filmmakers, consumers, and remix creators.
This reply comment asks the Copyright Office to fix the ineffective section 1201 process, which does little to prevent actual copyright infringement. Our initial comment asks for a complete reform to section 1201 through legislative action. This is more focused on advising the Copyright Office of procedural changes it can make to section 1201’s rulemaking proceedings while we await legislative change.
Before the end of 2015 the Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry and Request for Public Comment on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Section 1201 outlines the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions that make it illegal to bypass any technological protection measure (TPM) (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM)) that restricts access to copyrighted content. But simply put, it is a broken and flawed area of copyright law.
The Notice of Inquiry was intended to assess the operation of section 1201, along with the triennial (every three year) rulemaking process established under the DMCA to adopt exemptions to the prohibition against circumvention of TPM’s. Based on our long history of advocating for DMCA exemptions, New Media Rights (NMR) participated in this effort by filing a public comment on March 1, 2016. The comment addressed several questions laid out in the notice of inquiry, drawing directly from New Media Rights’s experiences from working with clients navigate 1201 on a regular basis.
Let's play videos are more popular than ever, however, for many creators what's legally okay and what isn't is more unclear than ever. Come learn the basics of copyright and trademark law that you need to know to keep your videos and streams up. Also get a chance to hear from legal experts and video creators about hot topics like Easter Egg Videos, Esports and using in-game music.
Joining Art and Teri will be Wikimedia Legal Counsel and lifelong gamer Jacob Rogers, as well as Angelo Alcid attorney and writer of the Journal of Geek Law.
So if you'll be at SXSW come check it out! Don't have a badge? No worries! SXSW gaming is open to the public so if you happen to be in Austin and are willing to brave the SXSW crowds come on by! If you can’t make it, you can follow our panel on twitter using #NMR.
Over two years ago when we submitted comments in the United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Telecommunications and Information Administration copyright reform proceedings and again in our roundtable testimony, we advised a cautious approach that avoided the collateral damage that can come with hasty reforms. The final report takes a cautious balanced approach and shows support for many of the points we emphasized including:
The importance of developing a flexible criterion to help judges and juries determine the amount of statutory damages awarded. Particularly criteria that: consider whether the defendant use was non-commercial, had reasonable fair use argument and the financial means of the infringer. With flexible standards Copyright Trolls are much less likely to be able to exploit small-scale defendants’ lack of sophistication and resources to extract inappropriate settlements from them. (see pg 75 of the report for some of our thoughts)
The need for more public education on matters of copyright law, including fair use, to promote creativity.
The creation of easy to read fair use best practices developed within specific creative communities by creators, lawyers and other practitioners working in that specific area to help creators make informed decisions about fair use.
Recognizing the importance of having a small claims copyright court to help independent creators resolve disputes that doesn’t sacrifice important copyright safeguards, like fair use, in the process.(see pg 78 of the report for some of our thoughts)
Today YouTube announced a new program to help its users stand up to bogus copyright threats from content bullies. Under the program YouTube will offer select users, with strong fair use cases, who have a video taken down under the DMCA two options:
Option 1: Users can follow the current process of filing a counter notice and have the video put back up worldwide in 10-14 days as required by law.
Option 2: Under the new option, users will be able to keep the video up in the US. Google will also provide a vetted list seasoned copyright litigators and up to one million dollars to help with legal fees if they are sued.
While we wish the program didn’t make users choose between keeping the video up worldwide or just in the US, we understand that much of it is a result of the messy state of international copyright law. And we hope that as the program iterates it will be able to expand its scope and hopefully make some great case law reinforcing the legal consequences of sending a bogus takedown in the process. We also like the idea of having a "demo reel" of fair use examples to help YouTubers learn about fair use. You can see the first class of videos YouTube has selected for their fair use program over on YouTube here.
As we've written about before there's a major justice gap when it comes to creators and entrepreneurs having access to critical legal services. While we do our best to provide free and low cost legal services, we’re only one organization. That's why we’ve created a national list of law school legal clinics as a resource to creators, entrepreneurs and even other lawyers to help find other legal clinics fighting to fill the justice gap. The clinics on the list typically provide completely free or low cost services depending on if you qualify and they have the capacity to take on new issues. Check out the complete list here.