2012 DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking: Final exemptions make progress but miss important opportunities

Every three years the Copyright Office considers exemptions to the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions.  

These exemptions are critical to internet users and independent creators alike, but they have to be reargued every 3 years.  We fought all year at the Copyright Office through comments and testimony, and we're proud to have been a part of making sure these important exemptions originally proposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation were granted by the Copyright Office.


Video Reuse Exemptions

Specifically, the Copyright Office renewed an exemption that allows the reuse of video content from DVD's for purposes of fair use.  This exemption has been expanded to cover a broader group of people than in 2006 and 2009, including K-12 educators, all college students, multimedia e-book authors, and professionals who have been commissioned to make videos for nonprofit purposes.  The exemption also has been extended to online content, rather than limited to DVDs.

Jailbreaking of Smartphones and Tablets

The Copyright Office also renewed an important exemption that permits smartphone users to install the software of their choice on their smartphones.  This exemption is critical to keep phone manufacturers, carriers, and OS makers from limiting access to otherwise legal services and content.

Work left to do

Unfortunately, the Copyright Office did not extend the Jailbreaking exemption to tablets.  They also did not offer an exemption to jailbreaking of game consoles.  Exemptions like these will continue to be critical to internet users and creators rights in the future.

Our Work

Our work started early this year when we filed comments supporting these exemptions in February. As always, our comments provide the critical perspective of the actual creators and internet users who rely on these exemptions.

On May 17, 2012, Art Neill testified in favor of Internet user's ability to Jailbreak their phones and to lawfully reuse video content.  There were two detailed filings (read them here and here) in July in response to follow up questions to parties who testified in the May hearings in which New Media Rights provided detailed responses based on its one-to-one interactions with internet users and creators.  On October 26, 2012, the Copyright Office issued a final rule granting both a jailbreaking exemption for smartphones and a video reuse exemption.  The official rule explicitly mentions New Media Rights support of the cell phone jailbreaking exemption. 

Copyright Office 2012 DMCA Anti-Circumvention Exemptions Rulemaking Final Rule



You can also read a good, detailed rundown of the new exemptions ruling from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  We're proud to have helped get these exemptions passed.  A round of applause is also in order for the key groups who fought for these important exemptions this year, including the Organization for Transformative Works, the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic, and Mozilla.



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New Media Rights sponsors Southern California innovation event: Startup Weekend San Diego

New Media Rights, proudly announces their sponsorship of Startup Weekend San Diego, beginning November 16th at California State University San Marcos. 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 and throughout the U.S., offering free and reduced fee legal services on internet, media, and technology law matters. 


WHEN: Friday, November 16-18
WHERE: California State University San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., San Marcos, CA 92096

EVENT SCHEDULE (check the site for the rest of the schedule):
November 16
6:00 p.m. Registration Starts
6:30 p.m. Dinner & Networking
7:00 p.m. Welcome & Introduction
7:15 p.m. Michael E. Gerber
8:15 p.m. 15 minute break
8:30 p.m. Pitches Start
9:00 p.m. Attendees vote for the top ideas
9:15 p.m. Teams start forming and discussing ideas
10:00 p.m. Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow.



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New Media Rights files follow-up comments in Copyright Office inquiry into remedies for small copyright claims

The Copyright Office has begun a process of considering creating a small claims court or system for small-scale copyright disputes.  This would affect the internet users and independent creators NMR assists significantly.

In our October 19, 2012 comments, we argue any small claims system will need to address misuse of copyright law, abuse of the DMCA takedown process, and the general discrepancy in how attorney’s fees and costs are awarded to prevailing defendants.

Abuses of copyright law are rampant in the current system. Creators and internet users regularly face baseless content removals and settlement demands.  Right now, much of this misuse and abuse takes place outside of the formal court system.  A small claims system for copyright would naturally lower the bar for copyright bullies to bring formal actions against defendants. 

Many of the defendants in the new system will be these same vulnerable independent creators and internet users already facing abuse in our informal system.  When considering such a significant change to the current copyright system, the Copyright Office must ensure that the new playing field that is created allows defendants an adequate opportunity to defend themselves and pursue those who abuse and misuse copyright law.

Read our full comments to see our specific recommendations!

You can also read our earlier comments in this proceeding here!

Thanks to legal interns Alex Johnson and Kyle Welch for their assistance in drafting these comments.


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New Media Rights releases 20+ new videos, hundreds more upcoming

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We wanted to let you know New Media Rights just released 20+ new videos, and hundreds more will be released soon.

We've been steadily working on a new video series targeted at teaching artists, non-profits, tech startups, and internet consumers about internet law. You should subscribe to our channel if you haven't already, so you can know when new videos are uploaded each week.

Want to check some of them out? We thought so... how about
What are the benefits of copyright registration? http://youtu.be/anq2DJ0_5UM
Why people give away art instead of selling it? http://youtu.be/z_BYzVIk_rg
or... that question that's always nagged at you...
Is the Wizard of Oz Copyright protected? http://youtu.be/RKU1H7FnjqM
In October, we'll be releasing LAGD, an educational video series directly focused on legal issues that game developers face. If you're a game developer or just interested in video games, let us know if you'd like to be added to the list of people we contact so you'll know when they're released or subscribe.
If you've got ideas for future videos or series that would help the public, we want to hear from you! Let us know your ideas at support@newmediarights.org.


New Media Rights helps shape recommendations by FCC Advisory Committee to improve Consumer interaction with the FCC

You may already know that NMR's Art Neill was appointed to the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee in 2011. Recently, Art was asked to be part of a special Consumer Complaint Task Force within the CAC that reviewed the FCC's systems for interacting with Consumer. New Media Rights reviewed the phone and online complaint systems at the FCC, and crafted practical recommendations to the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee about improvements that could be made to the FCC hotline and online complaint form.  Many of these recommendations are now part of the final recommendation the Task Force will ask the CAC to make to the FCC!  This is great news and a substantial step in heping consumers better communicate with the FCC.  

A special thank you to Art, Alex Johnson, the Task Force, and everyone at NMR for making these accomplishments a reality.

CWSL Partnership

NMR is pleased to continue strengthening its partnership with California Western School of Law.  Our partnership with CWSL is integral in providing the free legal work that we do for Californian's and internet users across the country.  Despite our relationship with the school, we are still 100% independently funded, so we rely on donations from individuals like you to continue our work.

You can continue to support our work by donating here.
You can also support our work by liking and sharing us through Facebook, Twitter, and by telling all your friends to do the same. Getting the word out helps us help the folks who need it most!
Grant from the City of San Diego!
A special THANK YOU to the City of San Diego Economic Development Department for supporting our mission by providing us with a brand new grant through its Small Business Empowerment program! With the grant, we'll be able to specifically assist about 30 small businesses and host 4 legal workshops locally in San Diego!

Welcoming back NMR's legal clerks!

We’re pleased to see everyone again this Fall.  The new space and awesome location we have at Ansir is a welcome change, and we’re grateful for the breath of fresh air! Here's a picture of us in the new space.

Welcome back, everyone (Top Row - Matt, Toon, Alex, Kyle, Gemma Bottom Row - Lauren, Art, Shaun, Katrina. Not pictured - Fernando and Shruti)!

And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Fall without our new legal clerks to kick off the season. We’ve got Kyle, Gemma, Fernando and Matt in our clutches, and we’re thrilled to bring them under the NMR and Ansir wing.  Welcome to the team!

Additional notes

  • Welcome to California Western School of Law's new Dean, Niels Schaumann!
  • NMR was recognized again this quarter as one of the most active members of Harvard Berkman Center's Online Media Legal Network.

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A video to our community: Big news about our future!

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We want to share some big news about the future of New Media Rights and make a few simple requests of you.

Our big news!

Click here to watch the announcement
Click here to watch the video!

We recently finalized a partnership with California Western School of Law.  We’ll still be providing the same quality one-to-one legal services and educational guides for internet users and independent creators, but now, as part of the California Western community, we’ll be able to expand what we do more than ever before.

We’re really excited to be part of the California Western community. The broader internet community will benefit from the increased availability of free and reduced fee legal services, and Cal Western Students will get real-world experience in internet and media law.

Click the image above to watch our official video announcement!

We are still completely independently funded, so please support us in starting this partnership off on the right foot

Click here to donate now!

This is an important moment for New Media Rights, so we need your support now more than ever. Even though we are aligned with California Western, our work to help internet users and independent creators is still completely independently funded, so we rely heavily on donations from individuals.

Your support of New Media Rights provides thousands of hours of free legal services every year, policy advocacy at the FCC and Copyright Office, and educational guides, all targeted at internet users and the independent creators.

We intend to get this new partnership started right, so we want to ask you. 

Will you help us protect the internet and the people who use it by donating today?

Click here to donate now

Please then share this campaign with others who care about protecting the internet and those who use it.

You can share this link via Twitter or Facebook, make a video about it, or forward this email, but please find at least one way to invite others to support our work. We'll even give you some sample text that you can copy and paste -

New Media Rights provides free legal services to artists, internet users, and tech startups, I'm donating to them today, will you? http://bit.ly/MwYAJA

Thanks so much for being part of the New Media Rights community.

Keep in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube and Flickr accounts


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Join New Media Rights in signing the Declaration of Internet Freedom to uphold basic rights in the digital world

New Media Rights has joined a broad, international coalition of civil society groups calling on elected officials to sign the new Declaration of Internet Freedom and uphold basic rights in the digital world.

We encourage you to read and sign the Declaration, and encourage your elected officials to sign it as well.

Here are the text of the Preamble and the Declaration, and directions on how to sign it yourself.



We believe that a free and open Internet can bring about a better world. To keep the Internet free and open, we call on communities, industries and countries to recognize these principles. We believe that they will help to bring about more creativity, more innovation and more open societies.

We are joining an international movement to defend our freedoms because we believe that they are worth fighting for.


Let’s discuss these principles — agree or disagree with them, debate them, translate them, make them your own and broaden the discussion with your community — as only the Internet can make possible.

Join us in keeping the Internet free and open. [You can interact with the following text on redditTechdirtCheezburgerGithub and Rhizome.]


We stand for a free and open Internet.

We support transparent and participatory processes for making Internet policy and the establishment of five basic principles:

Expression: Don't censor the Internet.
Access: Promote universal access to fast and affordable networks.
Openness: Keep the Internet an open network where everyone is free to connect, communicate, write, read, watch, speak, listen, learn, create and innovate.
Innovation: Protect the freedom to innovate and create without permission. Don’t block new technologies, and don’t punish innovators for their users' actions.
Privacy: Protect privacy and defend everyone’s ability to control how their data and devices are used.


Individuals: Go to the action pages at the Access,ACLUCREDOEFF or Free Press to add your name.

Organizations: Submit your organization or company's name in the form below. We'll follow up with a confirmation that you have the authority to sign on.



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Fighting for remix culture and against wireless shutdowns - May 2012 newsletter

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New Media Rights has been busy helping helping creators and internet users all Spring, and we have alot to share about what we've accomplished!  In addition, please stay tuned for some big news regarding the future of New Media Rights that we'll be announcing in the next few weeks. 


We're testifying before the Copyright Office on behalf of creators and consumers this month

We have been invited to testify before the Copyright Office in Los Angeles on May 17, 2012 regarding artists' right to remix and reuse content under fair use, as well as consumers rights to install the apps of their choice on their wireless devices.  This testimony follows our recent comments to the Copyright Office in ongoing proceedings on these issues. For more, read our comments or come to the hearing in Los Angeles.


Fighting to ensure  Wireless Service Interruptions like the August 2011 BART interruption won't happen again

New Media Rights filed comments on April 30th with the Federal Communications Commission regarding intentional interruption of wireless services. This follows the August 2011 incident where BART chose to interrupt wireless services at its stations. We focus on the effect of wireless shutdowns on consumers, free speech, and public safety. We conclude by encouraging the FCC to enforce appropriate safeguards to prevent future wireless service shutdowns undertaken without proper process. This incident raised serious concerns about the authority of governmental agencies and other non-carrier third parties to disrupt wireless networks. The FCC opened a regulatory proceeding to review the issues and we have filed comments to protect the rights of wireless consumers.  We thank our fellow, Shruti Joshi, for her assistance in preparing comments.

Read these comments here.

NMR highlighted on "Jack & Jill the Innovator" series

Derek Slater, Google's Policy Manager, recently asked Art Neill of NMR a few questions about New Media Rights to highlight our work on his "Jack & Jill the Innovator" web series.  

Here's the video!


New guides on the website

Quite a bit of educational content has been added to the site.  Consumers may be interested in...

How to identify and remove cell phone tracking software

How can I remove my mugshot from a website that has posted it without permission?

Artists and entrepreneurs may be interested in...

Frequently asked questions about copyright law (a master list of answers to many common copyright related question).

How do I register multiple works of visual art (like t-shirt designs) at the Copyright Office?

Support media reform in San Diego by checking out the Save KLSD documentary

Join New Media Rights for the first public screening of the documentary Save KLSD. The movie is about the rise and fall of a San Diego independent political radio station and how the demise of the station demonstrates a need for media reform.  The film is a great example of the power if independent filmmakers to shine a light on topics not often discussed in traditional media.  New Media Rights assisted with the project.

The screening will be at Lestats Coffee Shop on Adams Avenue on Saturday, May 19th at 2pm. A Q and A session with co-producers Jon Monday and Jennifer Douglas, as well as NMR will follow. More information about Save KLSD can be found at saveklsd.com. You can also purchase a copy from Amazon.

See NMR at Blogworld NYC on June 7th-9th

New Media Rights will be exhibiting at Blogworld New York at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on June 7th-9th. Every time we attend, we meet lots of independent creators at our booth who can take advantage of our free services. We hope that the demand is even higher this year. For attendees who'd like to schedule a time to get into contact with us, drop us a line at support@newmediarights.org.

NMR welcomes three new legal clerks
We'd like to welcome our new legal clerks working with the project for the summer Lauren Brady, Katrina Julian, and Alex Johnson. We'd also like to give a big thank you to our legal clerks Ashley Gray and Courtney Byrne returning for the summer because we couldn't have done all the great work we did in the last few months without them. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to our long-time video volunteer Aleymar Santana, as well as law clerks Ben Hoffman, Jamie Marion, and Laura Patrick recently.

Find out more about the video production or public relations internships available with New Media Rights. Volunteers and interns are how New Media Rights can provide such extensive services while keeping our costs low.

We need your Help
Although our public donations are closed, we are planning a new public donation drive soon. Please send an email to support@newmediarights.org if you're interested in helping out that drive in the upcoming months.


Ways to get involved with NMR without getting out of your chair!
Do you want to support our work protecting the rights of content creators online?

1. While we are not currently accepting donations, we will be soon.  Please keep us in mind for a donation when we are accepting donations again, as we rely on support from individuals like you.

2. You can follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Youtube and Flickr accounts

3. Write articles for our blog. If you would like to become part of our blogger network, send an email to support@newmediarights.org

4. Suggest new resources, projects, and advocacy efforts for us to participate in by using our contact us form



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New Media Rights files comments with the Federal Communications Commission on wireless service interruptions

New Media Rights filed comments April 30 with the Federal Communications Commission regarding intentional interruption of wireless services. This follows the August 2011 incident where BART chose to interrupt wireless services at its stations. This incident raised serious concerns regarding the authority of governmental agencies and other non-carrier third parties to disrupt wireless networks. The FCC opened a regulatory proceeding to review the issue.

Read our entire comment by clicking here!

Our comment identifies major problems associated with wireless service shutdowns, especially for consumers of wireless services.  We highlight ambiguity in the Communications Act of 1934 that leaves uncertain the responsibilities of third parties such as BART that are not obligated by a federal license. These third parties may, similar to BART, try to use this ambiguity in the future to exercise unilateral authority over shutting off wireless networks in a particular premises under its control by merely cutting off power to the receivers or transmitters used for reception of wireless networks on its premises.

Our comment urges the Commission to clarify that such government agencies and third parties are covered under the provisions of the Communications Act. We provide an array of less intrusive solutions to protecting public safety, including emphasizing the need to strengthen emergency communications as well as to clarify the power of the FCC, state commissions, and courts to authorize wireless shutdowns in the future.

In particular, we want to thank our fellow Shruti Joshi, for her able assistance in preparing this comment.

Photo Credit: "End of the Line" by Flickr user Wha'ppen under Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike 2.0 license

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Did you receive an errant copyright notice for Liberty Media Holding LLC v James March et al (10-cv-1809)?

Did you receive an errant copyright notice for Liberty Media Holding LLC v James March et al (10-cv-1809)? If you received any notice relating to this case, please email us at support@newmediarights.org or call us at 619-591-8870.

We recently spoke to an individual whose IP address was apparently identified in Liberty Media Holding LLC v James March et al (10-cv-1809), who contacted us when he received a notice from Verizon that his identity had been subpoenaed by Liberty Media Holdings.  The letter stated,
"The Plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit alleging that various people have perhaps infringed their copyright by illegally download and/or distributing a movie."  
The Doe wanted to know when this download occurred and what movie had been downloaded.  We pulled up the case to see if we could find what the infringing content was.  The problem was that Liberty Media Holding LLC v James March was not a copyright case.  It was a cybersquatting and trademark case.  We contacted the counsel for Liberty Media, and they confirmed that this was a not a copyright infringement case.  They suggested we contact Verizon.  We then contacted Verizon and they told us that it was a one time mistake, a simply clerical error.  The Doe in this case had apparently received this notice in error, and was not a defendant in any illegal filesharing related case.   
The concern with this clerical error is if the Doe had behaved as if this was a legitimate notice. The letter to our Doe included,
"If you are interested in discussing this matter with Plaintiff's attorneys, you may contact them ... They can speak with you about settling the lawsuit, if you wish to consider that."  
The important lesson to take from all of this is if you receive a notice from your internet access provider that you are part of a copyright infringement lawsuit, make sure to check the facts before you decide how to proceed. In this case, the individual notified was not actually a defendant in any filesharing case.
If you received a notice from your Internet Access Provider in the Liberty Media Holding LLC v James March et al (10-cv-1809) case, please contact us at support@newmediarights.org or 619-591-8870.


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How to remove yourself from Jerk.com

Please Note: We are NOT affiliated with Jerk.com in any way, we are simply trying to raise awareness and help people get their information removed. We do NOT control Jerk.com's listings.

Also Note: Unfortunately, we are not licensed to practice law outside of the United States. Any contacts from outside the United States will NOT be answered.

Jerk.com is a website that appears to try to profit from consumers who are concerned about their online reputation.

We've recently heard from individuals who have come across Jerk.com after they Google themselves and find that they have a profile on Jerk.com.  

Having information appear on this site causes you a number of concerns, including that a potential employer will see this when you apply for a job.  In some instances the photos may not be of you but of your children or other family.  The Jerk.com profiles sometimes also contain a person's email, age, address, phone number and job information.  The profile also can provide links to the persons other online profiles like Facebook and Linkedin.  After seeing their Jerk.com page, the first thing you may want to do is try to delete it.  You may notice a link on the top of Jerk.com that says "Remove Me." This takes you to a page that asks you to create an account and makes a number of claims, but be wary, as you have to pay to create an account on the website.  Moreover, there are reports that even if a user pays to access their account profile, they can't necessarily remove the entire profile.  In addition, those who pay may find that Jerk.com simply creates an additional profile, rather than allowing access to edit the original, objectionable profile.

If you simply want to notify Jerk.com that your photos or personal information appears on the site without their permission, there is a contact link at the bottom on the page.  However, again, it appears Jerk.com intends for visitors to pay to simply send an email to the website. Right now the contact feature appears to simply be broken.

These are just some of the issues with Jerk.com.

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