September Newsletter: Standing up for the Open Internet at the FCC!

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We want to thank all of our supporters who made our #Oneof1000 celebration a success this summer.  It was nice to celebrate all we’ve accomplished as a community in person and online, and we hope to enjoy your company for some delicious tacos again soon!

 

Despite taking a moment to celebrate with clients and supporters like the San Diego based nonprofit Green Neuroscience Lab (pictured above left with their newest scientist!), our team has been standing up for the Open Internet at the FCC; writing to the President about the importance of copyright reform and an Open Internet to 21st Century innovation; appearing on This Week in Law; releasing new educational guides (here, here, and here); delivering educational workshops, and answering your legal questions.  Here’s are the highlights of what we’ve been up to!

Letter to the President's Office of Science of Technology: Net Neutrality and Copyright reform are key to 21st Century innovation

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New Media Rights sent this letter to the President of the United States' Office of Science and Technology Policy in response to the White House's recent call for comments regarding updating the Strategy for American Innovation. We focus our comment on the importance of 1) protecting an open Internet through reclassification of broadband under Title II, and 2) copyright law reform for the 21st Century.

 

Help us reach our next 1000 clients!

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We've provided free and nominal fee legal services in over 1000 matters since 2008! These 1000 matters include creative projects, free speech, nonprofit services, and job-creating business ideas that may die on the vine, or be the victim of improper censorship without these services. But we can't do it without your help!  We're asking for your donation now to ensure our services will be available to the next 1000 clients who need it.

Your donation will help ensure we have the resources to reach a wide variety of clients to provide critical legal services. Clients much like Anita Sarkeesian. Here is her story of how we helped her fight improper takedowns of her pop culture critiques.  

Fine print to plain english: things to look out for as a Kindle World author

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Photo Courtsey of  Jemimus Attribution 2.0 Generic

With books like Fifty Shades of Grey flying off the shelves, the question of the commercialization of fan fiction is once again at the forefront. While fan fic authors have been steadfastly devoted to their art since before the Internet, emerging technologies have brought about new scrutiny to what this community really means for traditional media giants and who, if anyone, should be able to profit from fan fiction.

About a year ago, Jeff Bezos decided to set aside some digital real estate just for the fan fic community. Amazon’s Kindle Worlds is an e-book publishing platform for fan fiction, and works like this: Amazon partners with copyright owners, like Alloy Entertainment, who license to Amazon its fan fiction publication rights. These licensors are known as “World Licensors,” and by licensing their “World,” fans can create and profit off of their fan fiction through a royalty system.

Among the first “Worlds” that made up this new universe were CW’s Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars. Kindle Worlds has since added G.I. Joe, Veronica Mars, and seventeen other Worlds. The question is, why would readers buy works from Amazon when there is an endless supply of free fan fic from other Internet sites? Fanfiction.net, for one, is the world’s largest fan fiction archive and forum where writers and readers come together to do just this.  The recently launched Archive of Our Own (created by the Organization for Transformative Works) is another space online where fans have come together to share their  fan faction and other original fan works in a non-commercial space.

The difference of utilizing the Kindle Worlds platform has been boiled down to three main points: (1) monetization for authors (each e-book costs between $0.99 to $3.99, but this is set by Amazon); (2) does not require constant Internet connectivity; and (3) a minimal level of quality that Amazon ensures by having final say on what will be made available. See Kindle Worlds Publishing Agreement Section 7(c).

On that note, we’re going to get real with the Kindle Worlds Publishing Agreement. Here’s what we found to be important to keep in mind if you are, or are considering to become, a Kindle Worlds author.

New Media Rights @ VidCon 2014!

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New Media Rights is excited to announce that we’ll be returning to VidCon 2014, THE conference for YouTubers. VidCon will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center June 26-28. And this year you’ll have a chance for a double dose of NMR copyright YouTube goodness!

If you’re attending the industry track, catch Executive Director Art Neill on the “Copyright on YouTube?” panel at 3pm Thursday in room 213.  In addition to Art, the panel will feature in house council from innovative companies like Corridor Digital and Loudr.

If you’re attending on the community track, you'll also have a chance to catch an awesome panel on copyright entitled appropriately enough “Copyright on YouTube” at 11am on Friday in room 202. Jon Bailey, the voice of Honest Movie Trailers will moderate the panel which will focus on the practicalities of copyright on YouTube.

So if you’re at VidCon, please stop by and check out these amazing panels!

Executive Director Art Neill to speak on user-generated and "fan" content at Copyright Society of the USA's Annual Meeting

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New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill will be speaking on a panel Monday June 8 regarding user-generated content and fan productions at the Copyright Society of the USA's 2014 Annual Meeting.

FYI: US Copyright Office registration fees have increased

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As of May 1, 2014, the US Copyright Office has updated its fee schedule resulting in increased fees across most of its services. The following are three of the most relevant changes:

  • Fees for online applications are now $55, up from $35.
  • Fees for paper applications are now $85, up from $65.
  • The price of determining if some works are in the public domain is now $200 an hour, up from $165 an hour.

However, not all online registration fees are going up. If you have a single work to register (like a book) that was not a work made for hire, the registration fee will remain $35! A complete list of the new fees can be found here.

New Media Rights joins Electronic Frontier Foundation in urging reconsideration of dangerous Garcia v Google copyright ruling

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New Media Rights has joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and others in filing an Amicus Brief urging a federal appeals court to reconsider it's decision to order Google to take down the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video in Garcia v Google.

Most of our work at New Media Rights is preventative and transactional, focused on helping people avoid legal problems and lengthy court battles before they begin. In this case, however, we've joined in filing this Amicus Brief because the recent decision, if not reconsidered, will have negative consequences for free speech that will directly affect the creators and innovators we assist.

As it stands, the court's decision threatens to create sprawling, poorly defined copyright protection in a variety of creative contributors, altering the way that copyright law protects contributions to film and video productions.

NMR joins USA Doing Archives' discussion of copyright and the law surrounding digital archive projects

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Ever wondered how copyright and other laws affect the work that archivists do? Here at NMR we’ve helped our fair share of archivists; so we were happy to participate in Doing Archives first Hang out On Air at New England Archivists Spring 2014 meeting.  We joined Christopher Felker, creator of Doing Archives as well as Henrik Mondrup from Aalborg University Copenhagen and Heather Nodler a law student at Georgetown and former archivist for an informative discussion on the current state of archives and the law.  Missed the live hangout? No worries, you can find a recording of the entire thing above.

Also if you an archivist, academic or scholar; New Media Rights is here to help with your legal questions. For more information, check out our “Services We Provide Page” we made especially for you!

On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we look forward to ensure we get copyright right.

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On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we recognize that copyright reform is badly needed for the digital age.  This reform need not, and should not, take the form of any radical evisceration of copyright. At the same time, reform should not be used as an opportunity to continue unreasonable expansion of copyright law without concern for the collateral damage it causes to artistic progress, freedom of speech, and the intellectual enrichment of the public.  Rather, much like one would tend to a garden, it is time we examine our current copyright law, remove the old weeds of law that no longer serve us, and plant the seeds of new law that will help to foster  a new generation of artists and creators. And above all, the removal of those weeds must be a transparent process where all voices are heard.

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