At New Media Rights we work to make the public domain more accessible. We feature guides to help you figure out when something falls into the public domain and we have a great guide that will help you find public domain and openly licensed works to use in your own creative works. We also have several YouTube videos that help answer commonly asked questions about the public domain.
At New Media Rights we think the public domain is something to be particularly concerned with since no new works will enter the public domain until 2019. That’s why the work New Media Rights does to bring awareness to the problems surrounding the public domain is so critical. Work like this blog post explaining how expensive it is to find out if some works are in the public domain.
If you have a question about the public domain you can contact us here. And if you’d like to support our work you can donate here. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. You can also sign on to support Copyright Week’s 6 principles, including the importance of building a robust public domain, through the EFF here.
It’s copyright week! New Media Rights is joining with EFF and a host of other organizations to show why copyright law matters, and some of the challenges the law faces in the digital age. Stay tuned to learn why copyright should matter to you and steps you can take to support copyright reform. You can vist the official copyright week page here.
Each day this week we’ll be highlighting different principles critical to having balanced and effective copyright law, including Transparency, Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain, Open Access, You Bought It You Own It, Fair Use, and Getting Copyright Right.
Here’s a quick rundown of the six principles we support all year round but will be celebrating this week.
Monday Jan 13 - Transparency: Copyright policy must be set through a participatory, democratic and transparent process. It should not be decided through back room deals or secret international agreements.
Tuesday Jan 14 - Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain: The public domain is our cultural commons and a public trust. Copyright policy should seek to promote, and not diminish, this crucial resource.
Wednesday Jan 15 - Open Access: The results of publicly funded research should be made freely available to the public online, to be fully used by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Thursday Jan 16 - You Bought it, You Own It: Copyright policy should foster the freedom to truly own your stuff: to tinker with it, repair it, reuse it, recycle it, read or watch or launch it on any device, lend it, and then give it away (or re-sell it) when you're done.
Friday Jan 17 - Fair Use Rights: For copyright to achieve its purpose of encouraging creativity and innovation, it must preserve and promote ample breathing space for unexpected and innovative uses.
Saturday Jan 18 - Getting Copyright Right: A free and open Internet is essential infrastructure, fostering speech, activism, new creativity and new business models for artists, authors, musicians and other creators. It must not be sacrificed in the name of copyright enforcement.
If you have a question about copyright law you can contact us here. And if you’d like to support our work you can donate here. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. You can also follow Copyright Week here.
Admittedly, the law tried to address this lack of standardization, it just did so poorly. 370(7) allow website operators to define DNT for themselves by providing a conspicuous link to a description of the DNT standard that the website follows. This essentially dumps the ongoing debate about the DNT standard into the laps of web service operators. It leaves it up to services to find, understand and adopt another group’s standard. In theory, this could lead to the widespread adoption of a DNT standard by a popular choice.
But that process takes time, and during that time the environment for small services is uncertain. Even if small web service operators put in the time at the beginning to make this choice, DNT options on various platforms are ever-evolving.
We’re concerned that in practice 370(7) does not work as planned. Unless a service specifically wants to adopt a certain standard and has the capacity to ensure they keep their compliance with that standard up to date, we will likely see a lot of sites simply disclaiming DNT entirely.
In an effort to come up with DNT language that is accurate without being a PR nightmare, many sites that are good actors might want to express desire for a DNT standard, but not be able to promise to comply with the current amorphous standard of DNT. This will lead many sites to potential language that would comply with the law, but avoid making promises they can’t keep. Here’s an example:
Do Not Track (DNT) is a privacy preference users can set if they do not want web services to collect information about their online activity. However, there is currently no universal standard for sending and receiving DNT signals. Due to this lack of universal standard, it would be impossible for us to promise that we comply with all known and unknown DNT standards.
Therefore, we do not in any way monitor or respond to DNT signals or other mechanisms that provide a choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information about activities over time and across different Web sites or online services.
If a universal standard for DNT becomes available we may revisit our DNT Policy.
There’s probably at least one privacy advocate reading this thinking that disclaiming everything is not a solution. In the long term hopefully this will be true, but the current reality is a small tech startup is much better off promising nothing and delivering more rather than promising to observe DNT but not actually living up to their promises. Given the amorphous DNT standard services have to be careful not to put themselves in a situation where they might be subject to an action by California’s new privacy enforcement unit. Services always need to explain to users clearly what information is being collected and how that information is being used.
We look forward to seeing a clearer DNT standard, and methods of complying with these standards. We also think sites can differentiate themselves in the marketplace by providing superior privacy to their users.
Until then we support the work of organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center who are fighting for a universal DNT standard. However, we do not think it’s fair to put the weight of this complicated debate on the backs of small entrepreneurs.
Overall the idea of implementing Do Not Track legislation at the state level is a bad idea. In the short term it only helps create an inconsistent standard for DNT and places an undue burden on small entrepreneurs. There are so many problems that the State of California is facing that don’t involve the internet. We hope that in the new year the State of California will focus on those local issues.
If you’re worried that your website might not be compliant with the new DNT law feel free to contact us and we’ll see if we can help out.
Special thanks to NMR interns Elisabeth Morgan and Siamak Hefazi for their help on background research for this blog.
Update 3/28/2014 - Senators Udall and Nelson sent a letter to the FCC requesting improved transparency of the over 400,000 consumer complaints the FCC handles every year. The letter directly and heavily cited this CAC recommendation which New Media Rights helped shape. You can read the letter here.
Today the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee approved an important recommendation to improve the FCC’s consumer complaint data reporting. New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill, and Legal Intern Marko Radisavljevic were directly involved in the research, drafting, and proposal of this recommendation.
New Media Rights’ Executive Director Art Neill is a member of the CAC, and co-chair of the Broadband Working Group. New Media Rights conducted extensive background work on the FCC’s current data reporting practices, the regulations that govern the FCC’s data reporting, and reporting practices at other agencies.
Based on this research and conversations with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on their widely recognized approach to complaint reporting, New Media Rights’ staff and interns helped draft a recommendation encouraging the FCC to improve the accessibility and transparency of consumer complaint data. Currently the FCC reports consumer complaint data on the top 5 types of complaints quarterly, in PDF form. This recommendation specifically encourages both more depth in complaint reporting data, as well as releasing data in an interactive, machine readable format that 3rd parties can use. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is cited as a useful reference for modern complaint reporting.
New Media Rights is looking forward to continuing to be a vital part of the discussion surrounding policies that directly affect consumers and internet users at the FCC and its Consumer Advisory Committee.
Special thanks also goes to California Western School of Law 2L Marko Radisavljevic, one of New Media Rights interns from California Western School of Law who worked extensively on this recommendation.
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. New Media Rights is running a special holiday fundraising campaign. To learn more about how you can support New Media Rights’ mission and to help them reach their year end goal, click here.
|FCC Recommendation on Complaint Data Reporting FINAL.pdf||45.05 KB|
|140325 Nelson-Udall Letter to FCC re Public Complaint Database-1.pdf||1.95 MB|
This week Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators will be asked to endorse a binding obligation granting copyright protection for 70 years after the death of an author. New Media Rights joins Knowledge Ecology International, 26 other groups, and countless individuals from all over the world to tell TPP negotiators that adopting this term would be a mistake. As stated in the letter:
There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore or Australia, already have life + 70 (or longer) copyright terms, there is growing recognition that such terms were a mistake, and should be shortened, or modified by requiring formalities for the extended periods.
The primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound recordings and other works that are “owned” but largely not commercialized, forgotten, and lost. The extended terms are also costly to consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.
NMR strongly supports comprehensive review of the economic and creative effects of excessively long copyright terms. We will continue to support evidence based copyright term reform through collations like these. We have already questioned a life + 70 term in our policy work, inluding our recent Comment responding to the Department of Commerce and the USPTO Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy , where we identified significant questions and problems that arise from a Life + 70 copyright term.
Through shorter copyright terms, we hope to realize the purpose of copyright law, which is to encourage creativity while ensuring that creativity can actually reach the people.
The full text of the letter is attached below including all signatories to the letter as of December 6, 2013.
Starting around June of 2012, the number of URL removal requests that were sent into Google started to go up dramatically. URL removal requests increased from about 173 thousand per week at the beginning of the year, to 1.5 Million requests per week by August 2012. By November, Google received about 6 million requests per week to remove allegedly infringing urls from search. That’s about 34.7 times the number of request Google received in January. All of this happened during a time where Google has been actively tweaking its piracy algorithms to identify more infringing links than ever. So what gives? We’re not entirely sure. However, it seems highly unlikely that this massive increase in takedown requests has any relationship to a corresponding increase in the actual amount of piracy on the web.
Here at New Media Rights we’re particularly worried about the possibility of individuals using URL takedowns as a means of content bullying and censorship. There’s a question of how many of these url takedowns were in fact legitimate and non-infringing urls, but were removed from Google search results anyway without any form of due process. To be fair, Google does disclose that they do not take down url’s if the request is blatantly bogus. But with millions of takedown requests being sent every week, we wonder how many bogus requests, that aren’t so blatant, are falling through the cracks.
Here’s where we need your help to track the problem. Have you had your entirely piracy free url been removed from Google search results? We want to hear about it! If this has happened to you please fill out our contact form and we’ll see if we can help you out.
We're stronger than ever thanks to support from individuals like you!
If you've already decided to give to support our work, you can level up right now by making a tax-deductible donation.
We continue to fulfill our non-profit mission to provide free and dramatically reduced fee one-to-one legal services to underserved creators and innovators that need specialized help with Internet, intellectual property, media, and technology law.
We're committed to helping individuals, nonprofits, and startups use their time to create and innovate, rather than fighting unnecessary legal battles. We continue to stand up to internet censorship and those who abuse the system to bully independent creators and internet users. Below is a list of accomplishments from 2013, and our plans for 2014.
We can't do this kind of work without your help.
Support us with a tax-deductible donation and help us start 2014 on the right foot!
We need your support to make sure hundreds of creators, innovative new media projects, and internet users like you will get the quality legal help they need to keep creating and avoid lawsuits. We are grateful for any donation in whatever amount is appropriate for you, but have 2 special levels for donors this year.
$250 - Founder (Individiual)
$500 - Founder (Organization)
$1000 - Champion
In return for a donation of $250 or more, we will place your name, or your organization’s name, as well as a link to your website, on our Founders page on our website (unless you choose to give anonymously). You'll also get a custom postcard signed by the NMR team. If you give $1000 or more, we'll also feature you prominently as a Founder & Open Internet Champion and you'll get all of the above.
Please share this page on Facebook and Twitter and let the world know you support New Media Rights!
How New Media Rights grew in 2013
While we are able to accomplish so much with a small staff of two full-time employees along with a few interns and volunteers, we have high hopes for what we are able to achieve in 2014.
Significant events of 2013
Significant press in 2013
Salon - YouTube’s court of no appeal
ARS Technica - "“Buffy vs Edward” remix unfairly removed by Lionsgate"
You can see all of our recent press on our press page.
Michael Singh is a Los Angeles, California based filmmaker. New Media Rights has represented Michael on a variety of legal issues with his film Valentino's Ghost. Valentino's Ghost is an insightful and important film, but the film's story itself is an inspiring one. Michael's film rose from a little known, bootstrap documentary, to qualifying for Oscar consideration, screening at film festivals around the world, and receiving rave reviews from the New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, LA Times, and others.
"Without New Media Rights, my latest film would have been in jeopardy. Instead, it won a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, and at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam), and is designated a New York Times CRITICS' PICK. It has also qualified for Oscar® consideration.
But back when my team and I were obscure and struggling, I couldn't afford society prices for counsel, and needed an attorney's opinion on many fronts. My documentary is a research/educational/study "essay film," in which several world-class experts deconstruct and analyze various images from all variety of media. Fair Use allows us to include these short clips throughout the film. Getting opinions on Fair Use, creating legal documents, obtaining last minute advice on strategy or bargaining situations, whenever I needed complex help or simple assistance, NMR was there for me."
My next film may not be so complex, but I have already engaged NMR's services to draw up a contract for me, regarding that project. The quality of NMR's work has been superb, so I'm looking forward to reading what they write for me. I have recommended and will continue to recommend NMR to all documentary filmmakers who ask me for referrals.
I cannot imagine a better outfit."
You can even support the Valentino's Ghost Indiegogo campaign here.
This testimonial does not constitute a guarantee,warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.
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 multistakeholder 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.
Thanks to legal intern Marlena Balderas for her assistance in drafting these comments.
Learn about our legal services for: App Developers, Artists & Graphic Designers, Bloggers & Journalists, Clothing Designers, Entrepreneurs, E-commerce Business People & Startups, Filmmakers & YouTube creators, Game Developers, Internet users & Smartphone users, Makers, Musicians, Non-Profits, Photographers, Scholars, Researchers, and Writers and Publishers.