USPTO/NTIA offer up practical steps to sow the seeds of copyright reform

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)

YouTube's new Fair Use Protection Program

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.

Second Annual Giving Tuesday Night Owl Edition!

This Giving Tuesday, December 1, New Media Rights will be running a one-day, 24-hour fundraiser where your donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $40,000! We need your support more than ever this year. Please pledge an amount to support@newmediarights now, and then donate on December 1 help us leverage our biggest match opportunity ever!

We’ll also be competing with all of the other wonderful programs at California Western School of Law for that $40,000 match on a first come, first matched basis. In order to maximize your impact we are asking donors to give as close as possible to 12:01am PST on December 1st! As an added bonus the first person to donate on December 1st will get a video thank you from the NMR Team!

Need a reminder? Send the dollar amount you would like to pledge to by Monday November 23 and we'll send you a reminder email at 12:01AM on Giving Tuesday! Even if you're not a night owl, your early bird donations can have a huge impact!



2015 DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking: Significant Victories, but a Broken Process

Every three years the Copyright Office meets to reconsider exemptions to the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions. These exemptions are critical to ensuring creators and consumers’ ability to bypass technological protection measures on copyrighted works, allowing them to make fair use of works in a variety of circumstances.  As we did in 2012New Media Rights submitted extensive comments and testimony, working on behalf of creators and consumers to maintain and expand on the exemptions currently in place.

On October 27, the Copyright Office revealed the results of their 2015 Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking. Many of our recommendations were adopted, and we were cited repeatedly in the rulemaking.

This is usually the part where we say we’re proud to have been a part of making sure these vital exemptions were granted and expanded.  We are proud of our contributions and we’ll highlight those below, but we also need to take amount to keep it real.  The DMCA Anti-circumvention rulemaking is broken.

NMR launches law school IP and entrepreneurship clinics list!

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.


New Media Rights attorneys don their fair use Wizard Hats for Whittier’s Distinguished Speaker Series

This October Art Neill and Teri Karobonik delivered a talk entitled “Office of the Fair Use Wizard: Creators, Technology and Fair Use in the Digital Age” as part of The Center for Intellectual Property at Whittier Law School’s Fall Colloquium and Distinguished Speaker Series. The lecture covered the basics of copyright and fair use as well as covering some of the emerging fair use issues of the digital age.

Video of the talk will be posted here as soon as it becomes available.

NMR at TwitchCon 2015!

The first annual TwitchCon was held this September in San Francisco.  New Media Rights rounded up some of our favorite video game fans for an awesome panel called “Can We Just Play? The Legality of Let's Play Video and Streams.” The panel addressed the basics of copyright and trademark law that Twitch Streamers and Video Creators need to know to keep their videos and streams up. Our thanks go out to our awesome panelists (listed left to right) Angelo Alcid, Art Neill, Jonathan McIntosh and Teri Karobonik.

Missed out on TwitchCon this year? No worries!  Check out the archive of our panel after the jump!

New California privacy laws require search warrants for digital information, Smart TV disclosures, and drone restrictions

New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill recently sat down with San Diego's KPBS to discuss new privacy laws signed by Governor Jerry Brown in California.  The video interview is below, and here's a link to the longer form radio interview.  

New Media Rights joins Nameless Coalition asking Facebook to fix its authentic name policy

This week New Media Rights joined with the Nameless Coalition as part of a broad global alliance of over 60 human rights, digital rights, LGBTQ, and women’s rights advocates to send an open letter (full text below) to Facebook asking them to rethink their authentic names policy.


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