New Media Rights, proudly announces our sponsorship of Startup Weekend San Diego MEGA: Web / Mobile / Maker, beginning November 14th at San Diego’s new downtown library. The event is a weekend-long, hands-on experience where innovators and aspiring technology entrepreneurs can hear from industry experts whether their startup ideas are viable. New Media Rights' sponsorship of the event includes an offer of free legal services for the winning team.
Startup Weekend San Diego is just one of the ways New Media Rights supports the next generation of innovators creating jobs for the San Diego region, and developing technologies to help improve the world. New Media Rights works directly with technology startups, creators, and internet users every day in San Diego, offering free and reduced fee legal services on internet, media, and technology law matters.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2014
Contact 619-591-8870, email@example.com
New Media Rights welcomes President Obama's statement supporting real net neutrality
New Media Rights is pleased to announce that this morning President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify the Internet under Title II. In plain language, the President came out in support of real net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally. New Media Rights has been advocating for reclassification in our recent Open Internet comments to the FCC (and our reply comments) as well as in our letter to the President and his Office of Science and Technology Policy. We thank the President for his support of Title II reclassification and encourage the FCC to adopt the President's position. Here's the President's statement.
At New Media Rights we’ve received a surprising amount of contact forms related to using mugshots on commercially sold items. Although we cover whether mugshots are in the public domain here, this blog post tailors that information a bit more specifically for people who may want to put a mug shot on something and sell it.
A word of caution upfront, putting a mugshot on any commercially sold items raises some serious legal questions. If you’re serious about starting a business like this you should consult with an attorney since this blog only raises some of the issues you may need to look out for and is NOT legal advice.
Copyright law protects creative works including, believe it or not, mugshots. But the exact copyright status of mugshots from different law enforcement agencies is a bit more complex.
In general mugshots taken by federal law enforcement agencies(such as federal prisons and the FBI) are in the public domain and are not protected by copyright law. This is because a photo taken by a federal employee as part of their work for the federal government is in the public domain and not protected by copyright law.
However, for mugshots taken by state law enforcement the mugshots may or may not be in the public domain since state, city and other local entities can make their own decisions on whether or not to release mugshots and other photos taken by their employees into the public domain. In addition, some states may chose to restrict access to some mugshots under certain circumstances for reasons unrelated to copyright law.
For photos that are under copyright and access is not restricted, depending on your use of the photo, fair use may apply. However, for commercial use in particular we strongly recommend seeking out legal counsel before you release your product commercially to ensure you have a strong fair use argument.
Right of publicity & privacy laws
Even if the mugshot you intend to use is in the public domain(or your use is fair use) there are still other legal issues to consider. Approximately half of all US states have right of publicity laws. Although statues vary significantly from state to state, they are designed to prevent unauthorized commercial use of a person’s image, name, and likeness, although some are expansive enough to cover things like the sound of a person’s voice. Thus in some states, when mugshots are used commercially in certain ways they may violate a person’s right of publicity. Keep in mind that some states, like California, even extend this right after death.
Also, just because your state doesn’t have a law called “right of publicity” doesn’t necessarily mean your state doesn’t have a law that would prevent a mugshot from being used commercially. Sometimes that kind of law may be part of the states privacy laws or even unfair competition laws.
These are just a few of the legal issues that come up when using mugshots commercially on products. If you are seriously considering putting mugshots on products and selling them, we highly recommend seeking out an attorney to advise you on the full array of legal issues that may arise from this type of business.
Update! Here's the video from that event!
New Media Rights' Executive Director Art Neill is speaking in the Los Angeles area Saturday November 8, 2014 about Copyright, Fair Use, Music Licensing, and Creative Commons at 1:30pm at the Glendale Public Library. If you're in the LA area come on out and say hello! The event is sponsored by Doculink and the Glendale Library, Arts and Culture Department.
Here's the details from Doculink, and a flyer for the event is attached below as a pdf.
Please RSVP to Colleen Stratton firstname.lastname@example.org if you're planning on attending.
On Saturday, November 8th, Doculink, in conjunction with Glendale Library, Arts and Culture Department, will present: "WHAT'S FAIR ABOUT FAIR USE AND COPYRIGHT? - HOW FAIR USE AND COPYRIGHT LAW AFFECT DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING AND ONLINE VIDEO CREATORS"
Attorney Art Neill of New Media Rights will give a workshop on how Copyright law both restricts and empowers documentary filmmakers and other video creators. We'll cover key legal issues in filmmaking, including
The basics of copyright law, including how it protects your work, and how it restricts what you can do with others' work
DOCULINK is a community for documentary filmmakers who share information, leads, ideas, and a commitment to support each other's growth as nonfiction filmmakers. www.doculink.org
Art Neill is an attorney and the founder of New Media Rights in San Diego and practices public interest law in the areas of internet, intellectual property, and communications law. He is an adjunct professor of law at California Western School of Law in San Diego where he teaches Internet & Social Media Law (primarily focused on Internet, Intellectual Property, licensing, and online publishing law). www.newmediarights.org/
DATE and TIME: SATURDAY, November 8th, 1:30 pm-4:30 pm,
FOOD: Potluck. As aways, please bring snacks and drinks to share!
LOCATION: Glendale Central Library
222 E. Harvard St., Glendale CA 91205
The event will be held in the AUDITORIUM on the SECOND floor.
Receive 3 hours FREE parking across Harvard at the Marketplace parking structure WITH VALIDATION at the Loan Desk.
Metered parking is available on the west side of the building in Lot #10 and on Harvard Street.
Handicapped parking is available at the front of the building.
Please RSVP to Colleen Stratton email@example.com.
Feel free to pass this invitation along to other people who might be interested. Hope to see you all there!
The Federal Communication Commission's Consumer Advisory Committee held its final meeting of the year October 20. New Media Rights is a member of the Consumer Advisory Committee, and we are part of the Consumer Empowerment, IP Transition, and Broadband (as co-chair) Working Groups.
In our final meeting, the group passed two important recommendations,
1) Recommendation Regarding Mobile Device Security
2) Recommendation Regarding Access for Eligible Individuals with Disabilities to Lifeline Service
This recommendation encourages the FCC to take direct steps to make sure that the expansion of Lifeline to mobile devices includes accessible devices for the disabled.
"... the Consumer Advisory Committee recommends that the Federal Communications Commission consider the following measures to increase consumer understanding and interest in mobile device security:
1. Convening a workshop focused on mobile device security and privacy best practices to assist the FCC in developing consumer advisories and education resources;
2. Hosting a “Data Jam” type event with a theme of mobile device security and privacy best practices;
3. Enhancing the existing FCC Security Checker (http://www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security) web interface to include:
preselecting the OS when accessed from a mobile device
adding more detailed tutorials to explain how to adjust the settings
including accessible video tutorials;
4. Continuing to work with CTIA, device manufacturers, carriers, and OS developers to improve the consumer experience and usability as it relates to security- and privacy-enhancing techniques;
5. Coordinating carefully planned and funded Public Service Announcement campaigns aimed at educating consumers on device security and privacy;
6. Encouraging innovation in mobile device security and privacy;
7. Developing new FCC-hosted education materials on specific topics. These topics could include but are not limited to: mobile payment security best practices, the importance of two factor authentication, security tips when accessing public Wi-Fi hotspots, and the relationship between security and accessibility;
8. Utilizing the FCC Complaint Call Center in Gettysburg and web complaint submission process to direct consumers to existing FCC educational resources on mobile device security and privacy;
9. Considering any recommendations put forth by the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and its Cyber Security Working Group on these topics."
This follows previous work at the FCC Consumer Advisory. Two other recommendations we're particularly proud of this year are a) a recommendation aimed at ensuring libraries and students have access to the internet through E-rate reform, and b) a recommendation on improving the openness and transparency of complaint data, while ensuring consumer privacy at the FCC. The FCC is set to release improved complaint data before the end of the year.
New Media Rights looks forward to being part of the next FCC Consumer Advisory Committee, which will begin its new term in Spring of 2015.
New Media Rights Staff Attorney Teri Karobonik will be speaking on a panel at the Alliance for Community Media Western Region Conference on October 23, 2014 in Ventura, CA
The topic of the panel will be "Intellectual Property, Copyrights, and Fair Use in Media"
Technology has made it increasingly challenging to navigate the world of intellectual property, particularly in media and arts. This panel will address common questions journalists and creators face such as:
The panel will be an opportunity to give positive support to journalists and artists, showing them the ways the law can actually empower their creativity, how to avoid legal disputes in the first place, and how to move forward if you do face legal threats.
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.
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
1650 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
Washington, DC 20504.
Dear Mr. Correa,
I am writing in response to the July 29, 2014 request for comment from The Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council regarding updating the Strategy for American Innovation. Your call for responses indicated that the Strategy for American Innovation ”helps to guide the Administration's efforts to promote lasting economic growth and competitiveness through policies that support transformative American innovation in products, processes, and services and spur new fundamental discoveries that in the long run lead to growing economic prosperity and rising living standards.”
I submit these comments as Executive Director of New Media Rights. New Media Rights is an independently funded, non-profit program of California Western School of Law (a 501(c)(3) non-profit) whose core service is providing one-to-one legal services to creators, innovators, and Internet users whose projects require specialized Intellectual Property, Internet, and media law expertise. New Media Rights is known for our work providing preventative and transactional services on hundreds of cutting edge matters every year. New Media Rights has created a system and process to efficiently handle a large number legal service inquiries, producing value for clients by quickly identifying their legal issues and finding a path to services. In addition to direct, one-to-one legal services, New Media Rights innovates by taking what we learn from individuals and turning it into hundreds of freely available videos and written legal education guides for creators and innovators. This helps individual creators and innovators empower themselves. New Media Rights also takes what we’re learning from clients and uses it bring underrepresented perspectives in regulatory proceedings at the Copyright Office, USPTO, FCC, and California Public Utilities Commission, including DMCA Anti-circumvention proceedings, Copyright Reform, and the Copyright small claims court proceedings.
New Media Rights is responding to this innovation inquiry, most specifically to your question 21 regarding Intellectual Property and Antitrust. (21)
(21) What new challenges and opportunities for intellectual property and competition policy are posed by the increasing diversity of models of innovation (including, e.g., through the growing use of open innovation, combinatorial innovation, user innovation, internet-enabled innovation, and big data-driven innovation)?
While there are obviously many tensions and interactions between innovation and existing intellectual property and competition policy, we wanted to share recent comments we’ve made at the Federal Communications Commission and the USPTO / Department of Commerce. These comments address two important aspects of competition and intellectual property policy, protecting and preserving an open Internet, and reforming copyright law for the Twenty-First Century. We are attaching three comments in their entirety which address these issues, which I will summarize briefly below.
Comments and Reply Comments of New Media Rights in the FCC’s Protecting and Preserving the Open Internet proceeding.
In July and September, New Media Rights joined millions consumers, creators, and businesses in filing public comments about the future of Internet. We argued that the Federal Communications Commission and the Administration now have an opportunity to choose a communications future of innovation, creative exchange, and consumer choice, rather than one where powerful broadband Internet companies can alter the Internet to support entrenched business models.
Specifically we are urging the FCC to reclassify broadband internet access providers as common carriers subject to Title II of the Telecommunications Act, and to reconsider its recently proposed Net Neutrality rules. Preserving an Open Internet is one of the most important social, economic, and legal issues of the twenty first century. It is critical that the FCC have the authority to protect it, and then that the FCC actually uses its authority to enact and enforce rules that uphold the tenets of an Open Internet for years to come.
In our filing, we stressed several important points:
• Broadband internet access speeds and quality in the United States are lagging behind the rest of the world and broadband internet access providers have no motivation to innovate and improve access because they do not compete. The FCC must have the authority to address issues raised by these powerful, entrenched broadband internet access providers.
• American innovators, creators, and consumers need world class internet speeds and quality at affordable prices or their ability to do business and compete in the global online marketplace will be severely limited.
• Broadband internet access providers have already taken actions that violate accepted tenets of an Open Internet (Transparency, No Blocking, No Discrimination), such as Comcast’s throttling of Bittorrent data, and AT&T’s sponsored data plans for mobile broadband.
• The FCC must reclassify broadband internet access providers as common carriers if it is to have any hope of having the authority to pass the kind of rules necessary to protect Net Neutrality.
• Reclassification of broadband internet access providers as common carriers, and consequently reclassification of broadband internet access as a “telecommunications service” as opposed to an “information service” (which it is currently classified as), is necessary because internet access is a distinctly different service from other “information services”. Broadband internet access has been wrongly grouped together with services that like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others and have thus been able to maintain enormous market power while being subject to very little oversight.
• The FCC must reconsider its proposed rules, because do not adequately protect key tenets of Net Neutrality. The “No Commercially Unreasonable Practices” rule in particular must be revisited in order to bring it more in line with its much more effective 2010 version – “No Unreasonable Discrimination” – in order to ensure that broadband internet access providers cannot abuse their power by discriminating between those who are willing or able to pay for faster access to end users and those who are not.
Again, New Media Rights urges the FCC to take advantage of this important opportunity to ensure that America’s internet ecosystem will remain free to create, innovate, and thrive long into the future, rather than captured by business practices of entrenched broadband internet access providers.
New Media Rights’ USPTO / Department of Commerce Green Paper Comments on Copyright Reform
On July 31, 2013 The United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy. On September 30, 2013 they released a request for comments on that paper. All three offices were particularly interested in how copyright law could be reformed to better promote the growing digital economy. The request for comments was incredibly broad and ranged from questions about the first sale doctrine as it relates to digital goods to the role of fair use in remix culture.
In our November 13, 2013 comment New Media Rights sought to address three of the most critical issues that affect the remixers, entrepreneurs, creators and internet users we work with every day. First, our comments addressed five key copyright law problems that need to be solved to help remix creators spend their time creating rather than fighting legal disputes including the current failure of 17 USC §512(f) to protect creators from content bullying. Second, we discourage the widespread implementation of intermediary licensing modeled off YouTube’s Content ID system because it is not, in fact, an intermediary licensing system. We also explain the implementation of such a system could be incredibly detrimental to users’ rights largely due to the lack of an effective appeals process and various design challenges in the system. Finally, we address the Department of Commerce’s question regarding how best to go about fashioning a multi stakeholder process that would create a working set of best practices for the DMCA. We hope that our comments in these three areas will spark discussion and encourage badly needed copyright reform for the digital age. Our full comments are below.
Above all we hope our comment will spark discussion and encourage badly needed copyright reform 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.
We hope the attached comments are informative regarding the impact protecting the open internet, as well as reforming copyright law has upon independent creators, early-stage innovators, and consumers. As you update the Strategy for American Innovation, please realize that these groups, often under-represented in policy debates, are the fuel for the kind transformative innovation you seek to promote. If you have any other questions about our work, or would like any more insights from our work with over 1000 creators and innovators, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration of these comments.
Art Neill, Esq.
Founder / Executive Director
New Media Rights
1855 1st Ave., Suite B
San Diego, CA 92101
Today we filed our reply comments in the FCC's Open Internet proceeding. We focused on a series of claims by broadband providers that are simply not supported in the record, and amount to a "take our word for it" approach. As with our initial comments, our goal is meaningful, defensible protections for the Open Internet under Title II of the Communications Act.
1) Large broadband provider claims that competition alone will protect the Open Internet lack any reliable data to back up this claim. In fact, some key data providers rely on expressly says it is
2) Large broadband providers' claim that Section 706 is ample authority, and Title II is unnecessary. They make this argument because they know that 706 is so weak that they will be able to challenge and likely win against any kind of meaningful enforcement of Open Internet policy by the FCC.
3) Large broadband provider claims that Internet access is the same as the information services and content that pass through the network are technologically inaccurate. Now is the time for FCC to correct this definitional error and stop allowing broadband providers to circumvent the plain language meaning of what is considered an information service.
4) FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said there is "only one Internet." Large broadband provider claims that mobile broadband and fixed broadband should have significantly different rules goes against the idea of one Internet, and network management exceptions handle any variations in the two technologies.
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