NMR Testimonial - The Dark Mod (Broken Glass Studios) - Stealth Gaming in a Gothic Steampunk World

We're thrilled to announce that one of our clients, the Dark Mod Team at Broken Glass Studios, recently launched the standalone version of their wildly popular open source game, the Dark Mod! Here's is a testimonial from the Dark Mod Team about how New Media Rights helped them launch their game. The Dark Mod is a completely open source, free to download and play game created by hundreds of dedicated volunteers all over the world, and bills itself as "Stealth Gaming in a Gothic Steampunk World."

It's an example of the best kind of collaborative creativity the internet enables, bringing to together, artists, designers, and programmers from across the planet to create something for the public.  Here's their story and how New Media Rights helped them.

"The Dark Mod Team (aka Broken Glass Studios, www.thedarkmod.com) recently released a standalone version of our game, The Dark Mod, which until that point had been a mod of Doom 3 (meaning one had to own Doom3 first in order to play it). 

In short, people could just download our game and play it ("standalone"), even if they didn't own Doom 3.

The process of going standalone required us to replace all the assets our game used that were owned by Doom 3 (and there were a lot!) with new, free assets -- i.e., ones we could freely release publicly -- that had to be both different & do the same job as the old Doom3 assets (in the sense that our maps would depict the new assets in place of the old assets, so they had to still fit). The practical problem this presented to our artists was what led us to seek help from New Media Rights.

To our great fortune, New Media Rights went into great detail over all the issues we needed to think about in our process of going standalone, much beyond what we were expecting. It was important because the task was so huge (we're talking about 100s of assets), and there were so many potential landmines at every turn, that having a guide through the potential IP & legal issues was very important.

I'm not sure we would have been able to sustain the motivation over the long haul without a little certainty in what we needed to do to make our standalone the right way and feel some confidence that our work would not be wasted. So in that respect, NMR's assistance was exactly what we needed. Also simply in practical terms, our artists needed NMR's guidance to even know how to go about creating specific assets, like what features or aspects could be kept or needed to be changed, and in what respects. So NMR's assistance was incredibly helpful in both big and little ways. 

How did you find out about New Media Rights?

The arists in our team opened a thread in our forum to specifically discuss the IP issues of making new assets in going standalone, and many of them looked to me as I'm our resident lawyer that's actually taken a copyright course. But the issues quickly went over my head. So on my own initiative I did an online search. I found that NMR pages were popping up again and again with practical information on exactly the sorts of issues we were having, issues that other potential sources weren't talking about at all.  But I found our very specific question wasn't quite covered. So I emailed NMR asking them to clarify some issues for our specific needs. It was then that Art Neill from NMR contacted me directly and we set up a much more involved relationship, since it was clear our kinds of questions couldn't be answered over a simple email or phonecall. I was very happy to see how much NMR was able to get involved in following up on our questions and doing such extensive research, and then explaining it carefully and answering questions, to cover all the kinds of bases our problems were touching. 

How did you feel about having this problem? or What were your concerns before NMR assisted you?

Our main concern was that there wasn't a simple answer for how to deal with creating assets for our game to go standalone. Of course our intention has always been to be completely legal and never use anything protected, and we were quite willing to do as much work as it would take to do that. (And in fact it took more than a year and a half of work create 100s of assets to do just that!) We want our game to be above scrutiny so no one would ever have any reason to restrict it. But the issue we had was that we needed assets that had to fulfill the functional elements of our game without treading on others proprietary righs, which was a subtle task. 

Even wanting to do the right thing, we needed guidance on how to do it! 

How did New Media Rights help you with your problem?

NMR helped us in a lot of ways. The most direct way they helped us was to actually articulate the legal standards for copyright protection in visual images in a way our artists could work with. They needed to understand things like can they use generic features essential to create real world features (bricks can look like bricks, plaster can look like plaster) but should avoid manifestly artistic features (like an artistic flourish of paneling), and a number of other principles
and things to look out for. NMR also helped with the other kinds of assets we had, such as non-engine code and sound files. 

The other way they helped might not be as obvious at first but it's just as important, and I mentioned it at the top. It's that in giving us some certainty, 
NMR's work helped significantly in motivation. It's hard to overstate how demotivating uncertainty is. You can't motivate artists to spend 100s of hours 
replacing 100s of assets without giving them some confidence in advance that all that work won't be wasted (or worse, get us into real trouble or shut down our game!), especially when they don't know what work they're even supposed to be doing, or what standards they should be following in doing the work. By giving us some guidance to work with, NMR did a world of good in just giving us the confidence that this is a project we could do. 

Even when their advice might ostensibly require *more* work from us, it was better in the long run in giving us some certainty in what our task was before us. For example, there might have been a temptation to take risky shortcuts without NMR's assistance, and it might have been hard to convince some artists we really needed to do 100s of hours of more work to do this right. But with the greater certainty NMR gave us about what our task involved, we could put together a plan and build the motivation and actually put in the hard work to do what we needed to to release our standalone game in a proper way. 

It was a huge task, and now we've done it! 

How has NMR helped improve your life?

Well our entire team is on a tremendous high for having finally released a standalone version of our game. Our download numbers within the first few days indicate something in the neighborhood of 50,000 (it's hard to count since there are many download sources; but some individual sources alone are well over 10K), and there are indications that it's still rising from that.  We have received significant media exposure, almost universally positive. Our game had already received great reviews and even a "Mod of the Year" Editor's Choice award when it was a mod, but now that it is totally open for anyone in the public to play, it's getting a lot more of the recognition it's always deserved. It's very gratifying to have this kind of response after all our hard work. 

NMR is one of the resources we needed to make this happen, and without them it may not have happened at all, or it would have been a much riskier & scarier prospect.And we have not had any questions raised about our assets. I think all of that speaks for itself. 

Why would you suggest other people check out New Media Right and ask for assistance from us?

The main reason I'd suggest NMR to others is that NMR goes way beyond a simple Q&A brand of help with IP or legal questions. 

In our case, they went into significantly more detail in gathering all the information and aspects of our specific issues, doing hard research on all the legal issues potentially raised, and then packaging it all into a weighty brief that not only answered our most pressing questions, but also was written in a practical way we could actually use as working developers. 

NMR is in the business of assisting digital artists in getting their creations to the world in the right way. There are so many complex issues out there, that by itself the simple desire to do things legally and properly isn't enough. We need guidance. And as my original searches confirmed, I couldn't find any other group that was even looking at the questions we needed answered except NMR, to say nothing of a group willing to offer free assistance in meeting our goals, to say nothing of going to the great lengths NMR went to do it. NMR did all of these things. 

I cannot say enough positive things about how helpful NMR has been to us and would be to any artist in the digital era. I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone hoping to venture artistically into the new media. 

It's dangerous to go alone! Take NMR!

This testimonial does not constitute a guarantee,warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

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Who does California’s new revenge porn law actually protect?

California recently passed a new law criminalizing the posting of revenge porn. Revenge porn occurs when an individual, usually a former lover, post nude pictures or video taken during the course of the relationship of the other individual without that individuals consent. As the name implies, it’s usually done as an act of revenge after a particularly nasty fight or break-up.    If convicted under California’s new law individuals could face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. The law only affects a very small portion of revenge porn victims.  Here’s what the law doesn’t protect:

It won’t protect your selfies.

Did you take the picture yourself? Unfortunately this new law only applies to photos taken by someone else. The good news is, however, if you took the photo you automatically have a copyright in that photo and may be able to file a DMCA takedown notice to get the picture taken down.  If you need help sending a takedown notice feel free to contact us.

It won’t protect you from most hackers.

California’s new law only applies to photos taken by third parties, so it won’t protect you from any third parties that hack into your computer to get photos. However there are multitudes of other state and federal laws that can punish hackers who do so.

However, if a hacker were to hack into your laptop or mobile device camera and take pictures remotely, like a hacker recently did to Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf, the new law would protect you.

It won’t protect you unless you can prove that you agreed or understood that the photos would remain private.

Talk about a he said/she said situation. In order for someone to be convicted under this law you have to prove that both parties agreed or at least understood that the photos would remain private. Unless both parties stop to sign a non-disclosure agreement, it will be extremely difficult to prove this understanding in court.

It won’t protect you unless you can prove intent to cause emotional distress and actual emotional distress.

Both the intent to cause and actual emotional distress are exceptionally hard to prove. For example, if an individual posted the photo because they thought it would be funny, that would not be enough to be convicted under the law. Similarly proving emotional distress requires documented physical signs of emotional distress that are directly linked to the uploading of photos. For example, if an individual who had a photo posted of them on the internet was upset, but not so upset that they had been to a doctor for physical symptoms like severe weight loss, insomnia, lethargy, this law may not apply.  With such a high bar it will be very hard to convict anyone under this law.

It can’t punish individuals outside the state of California

Keep in mind this law is only a California law so it is limited in who it can actually punish. Unfortunately the law fails to clarify if to be convicted the picture must be taken in California, shared on a site in California or even if the victim must be a California resident.

The bottom line is this law does little to actually protect revenge porn victims. The only bright side, if you can even call it that, is that the law will not impose liability on any sites that post or comment on revenge porn. While some may argue that sites that profit of this kind of porn should be punished it would have been very hard to narrowly tailor a law that would have only effected actual revenge porn sites and not sites that are sometimes used for revenge porn such as Facebook or YouTube. Moreover that law would also have to overcome CDA 230which is a federal law that already states that we don’t want sites that host user generated content to be responsible for embarrassing content on their sites. If this law had gone after websites it would have imposed exactly the type of liability that CDA 230 is meant to prevent.  

Sadly this law is, by and large, a waste of taxpayer time and money. Once again we encourage the State of California to stop trying to legislate the internet and spend more time focusing on badly needed reforms in other areas.

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New Media Rights tells a content bully to beat it... Just Beat It!

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New Media Rights

It’s been a year since the Lansdowne Library Teen Advisory Board created a video to promote reading based on Michael Jackson’s iconic “Beat It,” video. After it was posted on YouTube, Sony took down the video claiming the parody was “copyright infringement.” But after taking a bit a beating in the press for content bullying these amazing teens, Sony rescinded its claim and the video went back up.

That was the end of the story until now. Recently, the audio to the parody video was muted through YouTube’s Content ID system. The Library called Sony, but Sony claimed there was nothing they could do, that the video was caught in what Sony called the “Youtube Vortex” and complaints about disabling it were old news. Together, Lansdowne librarian Abbe Klebanoff and New Media Rights have now gotten the teens’ video restored using Youtube’s appeals process, but the story is a reminder that content bullying is alive and well. Check out the full story here.


New Media Rights helps with a film that might just be on its way to the Oscars!

When we worked with Michael Singh on a variety of legal issues that came up surrounding his documentary, Valentino's Ghost, we noticed the film was excellent and told a compelling story. We didn't realize, however, that we were helping on a film that may be on its way to an Oscar nod. We want to congratulate Michael for making it to the final 120 films nominated for best feature documentary! Good luck Michael, we're all rooting for you!

Get ready for two weeks of NMR on This Week in Law!
New Media Rights is proud to announce that we’ll be joining Denise Howell on This Week in Law (TWiL), two weeks in a row! First up, catch New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill on TWiL on October 25.  Susan Crawford will also be on the show!  And on November  1st , Staff Attorney Fellow Teri Karobonik and former Assistant Director and current NMR Advisory Board Member Shaun Spalding, will be on the show. TWiL discusses breaking issues in technology law including patents, copyrights, and more.  The show records live every Friday at 11:00am PT/2:00pm ET.

New Media Rights features prominently in Copyright Office Small Claims recommendations!

Earlier this month the Copyright Office released its formal report recommending establishing a small claims court for copyright law. New Media Rights has been heavily involved in these proceedings,and the report makes that obvious. New Media Rights is heavily quoted in the report.  New Media Rights saw early on that a new small claims court would have a dramatic impact on independent creators, internet users, and entrepreneurs. We've shared our expertise with the Copyright Office in order to ensure that any new system respects fair use and provides a fair and just system for resolution of copyright disputes, not simply a new venue for content bullying. For more information and to read the full report click here.

Upcoming events
 
2013 IP Institute
Join us at the 2013 IP Institute November 7-9 in Berkeley hosted by the Intellectual Property Law Section of the State Bar of California. New Media Rights' Executive Director Art Neill is speaking on a panel discussing copyright enforcement with representatives from the MPAA, large copyright holders, and Electronic Frontier Foundation. It should be an interesting discussion!

New Media Rights is headed to SXSW Interactive 2014!
The votes are in, and (drum roll please) we're headed to SXSW Interactive in March! Thank you all so much for your votes and support! We'll keep you updated as more details become available.
 
North County Bar Association Intellectual Property Section  Art Neill will be speaking at the North County IP Section October 24 on DMCA safe harbors and content bullying.  
 
Value legal services for internet users and creators?  Support them by clicking here.

Please remember New Media Rights is an independently funded nonprofit program and relies on the support of individuals like you to provide free and low cost legal services to internet users and creators.

We accomplish a great deal on a modest budget, so any donation makes a huge impact for us.

Donate now to support legal services and advocacy for internet users and creators by clicking here.

Please also make sure to connect with New Media Rights on
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Thanks again for being part of the New Media Rights community. Keep an eye out as our future battles and work on behalf of internet users and independent creators continues.

All the best,

The New Media Rights team
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Teens make parody video, but Sony tells them to beat it… just beat it!

It’s been a year since the Lansdowne Library Teen Advisory Board created a video to promote reading based on Michael Jackson’s iconic “Beat It,” video. After it was posted on YouTube, Sony took down the video claiming the parody was “copyright infringement.” But after taking a bit a beating in the press for content bullying these amazing teens, Sony rescinded its claim and the video went back up.

That was the end of the story until now. Recently, the audio to the parody video was muted through YouTube’s Content ID system. The Library called Sony, but Sony claimed there was nothing they could do, that video was caught in what Sony called the “Youtube Vortex.” Together Lansdowne librarian Abbe Klebanoff and New Media Rights have now gotten the teens’ video restored using Youtube’s appeals process, but the story is a reminder that content bullying is alive and well.

In a world where it is easy for large media companies like Sony to remove content from services like Youtube, it should also be easy for these media companies to recognize and correct things when mistakes are made.

It all started, with one idea. Just read it! That was the goal; to get teens involved with the library and reading again. Of course all librarians want to see kids get involved with the library and read. But in a neighborhood like Lansdowne, where kids don’t have many safe spaces to hang out after school and test scores struggle, getting students involved in the library is critical.

That’s exactly what the Lansdowne Library set out to do when they made a video parody of Michael Jacksons “Beat it” called “Just Read It!” After all, parodying the song was a perfect fit. Take a song about gang violence and turn it into a song that encourages kids to read.

Once the idea was brought up the kids really banded together to produce this video. They wrote all the lyrics and choreographed the video themselves.  For Abbe, it was exciting to see kids get involved with the library instead of hanging out on the streets, and being exposed to all the technology and learning related to filmmaking that they wouldn’t normally have access to.

The reaction to the video was a huge success. The library had more teens actively involved with the library than ever before. Abbe simply never thought she could get kids that engaged in the library.  Everything was going great until the video was suddenly taken down off of YouTube.

On November 19, 2012 Abbe discovered the video had been taken down.  Abbe told New Media Rights, “The kids were devastated that all their hard work just vanished!” Abbe desperately wanted to get the video back up since the kids worked so hard on it. So she did everything she could to get the video back up from filling out all the content ID appeals paperwork, making a YouTube video to protest the takedown, and even going to Sony’s offices in New York to ask for help.

Going to Sony’s office didn’t work; in fact Abbe was asked to leave. However, the library’s Director, Sandra Giannella, eventually got a hold of Sony. As Giannella told New Media Rights, Sony initially refused to put the video back up because it was a “message video,” and not fair use. 

Sandra consulted with copyright lawyers at the time who told her Sony was wrong and that the video was allowed under fair use. Nevertheless, Sony absolutely refused to put the video back up.  At first Sony only wanted to allow the library to post the video on the library’s own site, which the small public library site just wasn’t equipped to handle.  

Then the library reached out to the press. That’s when Sony changed their tune and finally allowed the kids to put their video back up on YouTube.   A Sony representative also asked that if the video was ever taken down again to call him first, not the press, and he would take care of it.

Sony tells the library and kids to just beat it… again.

All of that happened nearly a year ago. Since then the video received 15,600 views.  It even won a Best Practices Award from the Pennsylvania Library Association and was embedded on sites across the internet.

However, the Lansdowne Library recently discovered the audio track on their video had been disabled and muted by Sony through YouTube’s content ID system.  They thought this had to be a mistake. Less than a year ago Sony released their claim! They called Sony thinking this was just a mistake; surely they would unblock the video.

Sony didn’t just refuse to unblock the video; they claimed they had no power to unblock the video. 

“The most exasperating thing Jimmy Asci[a Sony Representative] said was that he claimed that there was nothing Sony could do, that it was caught in the ‘YouTube vortex’ and even tried to cast blame on Warner Chappell, the previous owners of the song,” said Sandra.  According to Sandra, Mr. Asci even jokingly offered Sandra a job if she could get the video back up using YouTube’s system.

But none of Sony’s excuses were convincing to Sandra and Abbe. Especially considering they reached out to Sony first instead of the press, just like Sony asked us to.  That’s when Abbe reached out to New Media Rights, a non-profit known for standing up to content bullies like Sony.

Art Neill and Teri Karobonik at New Media Rights reviewed the case pro bono and explained to Abbe that the video has a strong fair use argument, that content owners like Sony do play a role in YouTube’s Content ID system and that because the takedown occurred based on a erroneous copyright claim from Sony, Sony should be willing to be involved in restoring the content.

Then, Art and Teri walked Abbe through the content ID appeals process on YouTube.  In the tiny window that YouTube allows for appeals this is what New Media Rights wrote:

This video is fair use because it is a parody. It takes Michael Jacksons song Beat It, a song that glorifies violence and gang culture, and transforms it into a powerful message promoting reading and libraries. This song is not a market substitute for the original song and was made for non-commercial use.

Early the following week Teri noticed the video had been un-muted and called Abbe to congratulate her and the kids. This was news to Abbe because YouTube had not sent her any kind of notice her appeal was successful.

Together Abbe and New Media Rights were able to get these teen’s awesome video back up using 53 words. 53 Words to stand up to Sony’s content bullying. 53 words to beat the “YouTube vortex” that was allegedly beyond the means of a large company like Sony.

One last thing, New Media Rights is a small, non-profit two lawyer operation on a shoe-string budget fighting to make sure content bullies don’t keep people like the teens and librarians at Lansdowne Public Library from posting lawful content online. So if you can, please consider donating to fight content bullying here.

Also, please consider donating to the Friends of the Lansdowne Public Library, who do so much to support the library and the great programs that allow them to reach out to the community like their “Just Read It!” video.

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New Media Rights joins 17+ groups in calling for an extension for public comment in critical copyright law review process

Today New Media Rights joined 17 other organizations in asking the United States Patent and Trademark Office to extend the amount of time the public has to reply to the request for comments on the Department of Commerce green paper, “Copyright Policy, Creativity, And Innovation In The Digital Economy.”  The Green Paper extensively outlines the current challenges regarding copyright enforcement in the new media age. The request for comments outlines five critical areas for comment including: the law around remixes; the first sale doctrine in the digital age; the reform of statutory damages in file sharing cases; the possibility of government organized licensing and improvement of the DMCA takedown system. Each of these topics deserves extensive discussion and asking stakeholders to provide comments on 5 broad areas of copyright law within 2 weeks is unrealistic. The initial comments period proposed only allowed 2 weeks before the first public hearing.  New Media Rights is hopeful the request for changes to comment period and public meeting schedule will be granted. You can find the full text of the letter below.

New Media Rights is looking forward to continuing to be a vital part of the discussion surrounding the modification of copyright law for the new media era.  We offer insight from front line work with independent creators and internet users whose perspective is too often missing from policy debates.  We’re hope that reforms in the coming years can radically decrease the legal uncertainty around remixing and increase independent creators’ ability to stand up to content bullying.

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New Media Rights features prominently in Copyright Office Small Claims recommendations

Today the Copyright Office released its formal report regarding the challenges of copyright litigation in Federal Court and recommended establishing a small claims court for copyright law. New Media Rights has been heavily involved in these proceedings and the report makes that obvious. New Media Rights is quoted six times and New Media Rights Executive Director is directly quoted by the Copyright Office twice.

New Media Rights saw early on that a new small claims court would have a dramatic impact on independent creators, internet users, and entrepreneurs. We've shared our expertise with the Copyright Office in order to ensure that any new system respects fair use and provides a fair and just system for resolution of copyright disputes, not simply a new venue for content bullying.

Some of New Media Rights recommendations that made it into the final report include:

·         Making sure the small claims court system is not adjudicated at the state level because, as quoted in the report, “[w]hile the state small claims courts are well experienced in dealing with small disputes, they usually deal with contract and tort law which have clearer established doctrines and are easier to simplify into matters of equity.”

·         Making sure that key parts of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allow users who have had their videos maliciously taken down allow creators some form of recourse, are included within the jurisdiction of the court.

·         Allowing parties to be represented by attorneys because, as quoted by the Copyright Office in the report,“If copyright law is full of issues that even fully trained attorneys struggle with, how will the average small-time plaintiff or defendant successfully represent themselves?”

·         The need for consistent application of attorney’s fees and costs as part of a Small Claims system to prevent abuse to the system, because, as quoted in the report “...Prevailing plaintiffs are routinely able to access attorney’s fees simply by having registered the copyright according to the statute, whereas a prevailing defendant often must show that a plaintiff’s claims or conduct during the litigation are frivolous or brought in bad faith in order to earn attorney’s fees.”

New Media Rights is looking forward to continuing to be a vital part of the discussion surrounding this potential copyright small claims court. We hope to be a part of building this court that could radically increase independent creators’ ability to defend their copyrights as well as stand up to content bullying.

Special thanks also goes to California Western School of Law 3L Kyle Welch, one of New Media Rights interns from California Western School of Law who worked extensively on the comments.

New Media Rights is a nonprofit program of California Western School of Law that provides free and reduced-fee legal assistance and education to internet users, journalists, and technology and media entrepreneurs. The program also provides unique hands-on training opportunities for California Western students interested in practicing internet and media law, furthering the law school’s commitment to community engagement and pro bono services.

Since New Media Rights is an independently funded program at California Western, it continues to rely on grants and individual donations to fund its work. To learn more about how you can support New Media Rights’ mission, click here.

 

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Why California’s new online privacy bill will cause more problems than it solves

For picture: Jenga Attribution Some rights reserved by lucidtech

Teenager posts a stupid/reckless/illegal/vulgar thing online, chaos ensues. It’s become a staple of court dockets and headlines across the country. It’s hardly surprising that lawmakers have picked up on this problem and set out to solve it.  The latest attempt that has just become law is California’s Senate Bill No. 568. Best case scenario the bill merely fails to protect teenagers and worst case scenario it’s an entirely unenforceable waste of taxpayer money.

This new law requires websites to hide content posted by a minor at the minor’s request. In theory, it’s a great idea. Minors might not understand that things they post online could have very real consequences in their future. Although the law might be a good idea in theory, the actual law introduces far more problems than it solves.  Here are just a few of the many, many problems the law raises.

Problem #1: It Doesn’t Really Erase Minors Embarrassing Posts.

It’s great that a minor will be able to hide their original embarrassing post. However, odds are that the more embarrassing the post is, the more likely it was shared. The law does not require that these shared posts be hidden, which the law should not. It would be unfair to give websites the impossible task of tracking down and hiding each iteration of a post on their site or on the entire internet.  However, it’s unclear if hiding the original post will make much of a difference in cases where teen’s photos are shared and used against them. For example, in New York an Ex-NFL player created a website where he shared photos teens publicly posted on social media of themselves trashing and partying in a home he had up for sale. The teens in this case were able to delete their photos, but only from the original source.

In addition, the law doesn’t actually require that the post actually be deleted from the sites system. It only needs to be hidden from users. While this makes compliance somewhat easier for companies, it still leaves these posts vulnerable to hacking attempts or upgrades to social networking sites that inadvertently make private or hidden posts public. The latter has happened numerous times on Facebook.  Including in December of 2009, when Facebook radically updated their privacy settings and many users’ private posts became public by default.    

Problem #2: The Law Assumes It Will Be Easy For Young Users To Log Into Their Accounts.

The new law allows each website to come up with their own procedure for taking down content posted by “registered users”.  This is pretty consistent with current industry practice. Many sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter already have mechanism for users to delete or flag content but they all have one thing in common you have to have an account and be logged into the site. All of this makes sense. However, The problem we’ve encountered at New Media Rights is when minors don’t remember any of their log in information; much like I don’t remember where I put my diary key from when I was twelve. When they get locked out of the system they have no way of using these existing tools to delete their posts. And there’s often no way for them to prove their own identity to get their posts removed. There is absolutely nothing in this new law that even addresses that problem.  It’s a problem that’s likely to grow as more teens use even more sites to create and share content on the internet.

Problem #3: The Vast Majority Of Posts On The Internet Would Not Fall Under The Law.

The site doesn’t have to take down any posts that the minor has received “other consideration” for. Consideration is a legal term that refers to what one party gives up for getting something in a contract.  It can be anything from cash, services or even general goodwill.   The problem is that all users of interactive websites receive consideration, in the form of getting to use the site, for providing pictures and other content to the site. This one provision essentially nullifies the entire law.  Its rather disappointing that none of the many lawyers in the California legislature caught this simple legal loophole before the bill was passed; it really is contract law 101.

Problem #4: The Federal Government Has Already Established Freedom From Liability For Sites That Are Based Upon User Generated Content Is A Good Thing.

A federal law called CDA 230 has already made the statement that we don’t want sites like Facebook and YouTube to be liable for potentially defamatory, reckless or even embarrassing content on their sites. This law imposes exactly the type of liability that CDA 230 is meant to prevent.   Moreover, CDA 230 has a section that actually prevents states from imposing liability for anything that CDA 230 would otherwise cover.   In short, if the consideration loophole we talked about above didn’t nullify the entire law CDA 230 almost certainly would.

Problem # 5 This Is A State Law, And State Laws Are Particularly Bad At Regulating The Internet.

This law only affects internet users, and the companies that serve internet users within California.  One of the really great things about the internet is its ability to connect users all over the US and the world for that matter. There is no easy way for internet companies to cleanly differentiate all the California minors this law would apply to from everyone else on the internet. Not to mention the law is unclear if it only applies to minors who resided in the State of California at the time of posting and removal. In theory the law could also includes minors who made posts in other states but then moved to California and vice versa. In short even if it were easy for internet companies to differentiate California minors, when what counts as a California minor is undefined it becomes an impossible task. The bottom line is state laws that regulate internet behavior are a huge hassle for internet companies at best and unenforceable at worst.

The new law doesn’t actually come into effect until January 1, 2015, so in theory there’s still time to solve some of these problems. However, rather than spending the time and tax payer money to fix this largely unfixable law we’d suggest the State of California stop trying to legislate the internet and spend more time focusing on badly needed reforms in other areas.

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September Update: Standing Up To Content Bullies

 

 


New Media Rights



New Media Rights has made a name for itself standing up to content bullies, and we've done it once again this month.  After you check out the latest below, help us take our fight against content bullying to SXSW by voting for our panel "Stand Up To Content Bullies, Know Your Copy Rights!" on the SXSW panel picker. Voting ends September 6 so vote now!


New Media Rights fights content bullies yet again!
Media Literacy Project is an Albuquerque, New Mexico based nonprofit.  Through education and grassroots campaigns, Media Literacy Project works to help people become “critical media consumers and engaged media justice advocates who deconstruct media, inform media policy, and create media that reflect their lived experience.”

Sometimes government or corporate interests don’t appreciate their criticism.  Recently, New Media Rights stepped in and helped ensure they were not unfairly silenced.

This summer, Media Literacy Project shared their criticisms of a number of health related advertisement campaigns by city governments in the Midwest publicly on their website.  The criticism included a written article analyzing the original images, as well as a counter-advertisement critical of the ad campaigns.  Unfortunately, rather than respect MLP’s right to share their criticisms, a representative of the Chicago Department of Health contacted MLP and requested that they remove their criticisms and related images.  The story is an important lesson in excessive enforcement, because of the three legal reasons given, none were legitimate.  

New Media Rights intervened, and helped MLP let the Department of Health know a) the department wasn’t even the owners of the work they were trying to enforce, b) this was a textbook example of fair use, and c) their claims regarding an obscure section of copyright law known as VARA were baseless. 

The result?  A win for free speech and your right to criticize the media around you!  Read the whole story in MLP's own words here!

New Media Rights leads Broadband Working Group at the FCC!
Art Neill, New Media Rights Executive Director, has been appointed co-chair of the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee's Broadband Working Group.  The Working Group develops recommendations to the FCC surrounding broadband policy.  Right now, the Broadband Working Group is focused on improving oversight on the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, encouraging access and affordability of broadband, improving complaint reporting on broadband issues, and commenting on proposed revisions to the E-rate / ConnectEd programs that ensures our schools and libraries can provide citizens with high quality broadband access.

Help send NMR to SXSW!
Please vote for NMR's panel "Stand Up To Content Bullies, Know Your Copy Rights!" on the SXSW panel picker. Not only will we provide SXSW audiences with a great overview of copyright law but remix artist Jonathan McIntosh will join us as our special guest creator. Who better to talk about standing up to content bullies than someone who's actually done it! Voting ends September 6th so please vote soon!

City of San Diego Awards NMR a Citywide Small Business Enhancement Program Grant!
New Media Rights is proud to announce that for the second year in a row, the City of San Diego Office of Small Business has awarded New Media Rights a Citywide Small Business Enhancement Program grant. The grant will support our free and low cost legal services for local tech and media startups. According to the members of the panel who reviewed New Media Rights’ application, New Media Rights is an “[i]mportant, unique, cutting-edge, and much-needed program and services to be offered to technology and media-related small business in the city of San Diego.” New Media Rights received a perfect score on the grant application, and will receive $23,800.00 in funding!  You can join the City of San Diego in supporting legal services for creators by donating now!

New "Services We Offer" Pages!
New Media Rights often get asked who we help and what services we provide. So we've created a page with links for all the different types of creators that explain in detail the kind of services we provide for each type of creator. By no means is it an all inclusive list. We work with so many creators and innovators it’s entirely possible that some of the types of projects we could help with don't even exist yet!


New Media Rights meets with Ukrainian journalists delegation about government transparency and access to information!

New Media Rights recently met with journalists and media entrepreneurs from the Ukraine as part of an annual exchange program through the San Diego Diplomacy Council and the U.S. State Department. The program is focused on helping journalists from other countries learn about government transparency and access to information in the United States.   New Media Rights shared some of the work we do with journalists in the US, and the journalists were kind enough to share some of their amazing stories about dealing with legal issues associated with journalism in the Ukraine.

Upcoming events
We've been presenting workshops and attending events like FilmCon, GamerCon, and others all summer long.  Here's some more events coming up this Fall!

Free Legal consultations for 3D Printing
New Media Rights in partnership with FAB LAB SD and Ansir Innovation center present an evening of one-on-one short legal advice sessions for 3D printer entrepreneurs and enthusiasts. Join us at Ansir Innovation Center on 9/19/13 from 4-8PM. While your waiting for your session mix an mingle with other entrepreneurs and enthusiasts. All spots are currently full but a wait list is available here.

Digitial Design Showdown
Digital Design Showdown from 7-10pm on 9/20 is a fast paced design competition where participants go head to head with other San Diego designers. Each person gets 20 minutes to create a piece of art work around a theme or image in 2D, 3D, and Animation competition categories. Sign up to compete for bragging rights or come to watch the competition.

Copyrights And Copywrongs For Internet Content
San Diego Python Users, Sandiegojs and SD Game Art and Design Meetup Groups will be hosting New Media Rights Staff Attorney Teri Karobonik and California Western School of Law 3L Lauren Brady to talk about copyright for video game development. Join us at Ansir Innovation Center on 9/26/13 at 7PM. For more information check out the Meetup page here!

How can you support independent creators and artists?

Please remember New Media Rights is an independently funded nonprofit program and relies on the support of individuals like you to provide free and low cost legal services to internet users and creators.

We accomplish a great deal on a modest budget, so any donation makes a huge impact for us.

Donate now to support legal services and advocacy for internet users and creators by clicking here.

Please also make sure to connect with New Media Rights on
 Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 
Thanks again for being part of the New Media Rights community. Keep an eye out as our future battles and work on behalf of internet users and independent creators continues.

All the best,

The New Media Rights team

 

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Help send New Media Rights to SXSW!

SXSW movie from New Media Rights on Vimeo

UPDATE: Voting for SXSW is now closed. Thank you so much for your votes!

New Media Rights wants to teach you how to “Stand Up To Content Bullies, Know Your Copy Rights” at SXSW Interactive this year. We know copyright laws are complicated, and they're often the reason why your videos, mobile apps, and other content may get taken down. "Fair use" is complicated, but it's often the reason you can get your content back up. Our panel will teach real-world best practices to use the law, Youtube's rules, and practical steps to fight back against content bullies.

Not only will we provide SXSW audiences with a great best practices but pop culture hacker Jonathan Mcintosh will join us as our special guest creator.  You might remember Jonathan from when we helped him get his video Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed put back up on YouTube after it was taken down by content bullies. And really, who better to talk about standing up to content bullies than someone who's actually done it and won!

But we can’t get to SXSW without your support! A public vote accounts for 30% of the decision making process at SXSW so we need your vote! Please vote for NMR’s panel here.  And feel free to share our panel with your friends too, every vote counts!  

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New Media Rights receives grant from The City Of San Diego Office of Small Business

New Media Rights is proud to announce that for the second year in a row, the City of San Diego Office of Small Business has awarded New Media Rights a Citywide Small Business Enhancement Program grant. The grant will support our free and low cost legal services for local tech and media startups.

According to the members of the panel who reviewed New Media Rights’ application, New Media Rights is an “[i]mportant, unique, cutting-edge, and much-needed program and services to be offered to technology and media-related small business in the city of San Diego.” They also called New Media Rights a, “great program and support available for this sector of the small business community.”

New Media Rights received a perfect score on the grant application, and will receive $23,800.00 in funding.

"We're proud to partner with the City of San Diego's Office of Small Business to provide critical legal services to San Diego's technology and creative communities.  We're grateful that the forward thinking leadership at the Office of Small Business has recognized that our services launch creative projects and job-creating business ideas that may die on the vine or be the victim of improper censorship without these services," said Executive Director Art Neill.

New Media Rights provides free and low-cost one-to-one legal assistance to internet users, artists, non-profits, startups, and others who create and share their work online. People contact New Media Rights when they need direct assistance in areas like copyright, trademark, internet and media law.

In addition to helping individual internet users and tech startups, New Media Rights focuses on assisting organizations that provide better access to public information; greater business and government accountability; or unique new perspectives to the cultural landscape. New Media Rights is an independently funded program of California Western School of Law.

For questions about New Media Rights, please contact support@newmediarights.org.

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