Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

Event: Copyright for Media Makers 2016

A great creative project or business starts with a solid legal foundation. Come join us this Thursday May 12 at 5:30pm for a free legal workshop and Q&A at San Diego City College hosted by SD City RTVF - Open to all and will be held in room C211. Brought to you in partnership with the City of San Diego's Office of Economic Development.

New Media Rights asks for legislative reform in comments to Copyright Office's DMCA Section 512 study

The DMCA Section 512 is a critical protection for internet-based services large and small against copyright claims based on user infringement. However, Section 512 creates an easy, out of court process to remove speech from the internet through its notice and takedown provisions. This process is frequently abused to remove otherwise legal content from the internet. We recently proposed legislative reforms that would address key problems with section 512, and shared our firsthand experiences with clients dealing with section 512.

New Media Rights joins filmmaker groups asking for copyright reform of Section 1201 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act

Following up on our recent comments requesting reform of section 1201 of the Copyright Act, last Friday April 1 NMR filed a reply comment with the International Documentary Association, Film Independent, Kartemquin Educational Films, and Indie Caucus. 

Section 1201 unecessarily restricts all kinds of otherwise legal reuses of content, including by filmmakers, consumers, and remix creators.  

This reply comment asks the Copyright Office to fix the ineffective section 1201 process, which does little to prevent actual copyright infringement. Our initial comment asks for a complete reform to section 1201 through legislative action. This is more focused on advising the Copyright Office of procedural changes it can make to section 1201’s rulemaking proceedings while we await legislative change.

See you at SXSW 2016!

Thanks to your votes, New Media Rights is heading to SXSW interactive in Austin, Texas. On Tuesday March 17th at 2:00PM in room 5ABC of the Austin Convention Center we’ll be presenting our panel “Can We Just Play? The Legality of Let's Play Video”.

Let's play videos are more popular than ever, however, for many creators what's legally okay and what isn't is more unclear than ever. Come learn the basics of copyright and trademark law that you need to know to keep your videos and streams up. Also get a chance to hear from legal experts and video creators about hot topics like Easter Egg Videos, Esports and using in-game music.

Joining Art and Teri will be Wikimedia Legal Counsel and lifelong gamer Jacob Rogers, as well as Angelo Alcid attorney and writer of the Journal of Geek Law.

So if you'll be at SXSW come check it out! Don't have a badge? No worries! SXSW gaming is open to the public so if you happen to be in Austin and are willing to brave the SXSW crowds come on by! If you can’t make it, you can follow our panel on twitter using #NMR.

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

Over two years ago when we submitted comments in the United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Telecommunications and Information Administration copyright reform proceedings and again in our roundtable testimony, we advised a cautious approach that avoided the collateral damage that can come with hasty reforms. The final report takes a cautious balanced approach and shows support for many of the points we emphasized including:

  • The importance of developing a flexible criterion to help judges and juries determine the amount of statutory damages awarded. Particularly criteria that: consider whether the defendant use was non-commercial, had reasonable fair use argument and the financial means of the infringer. With flexible standards Copyright Trolls are much less likely to be able to exploit small-scale defendants’ lack of sophistication and resources to extract inappropriate settlements from them. (see pg 75 of the report for some of our thoughts)
  • The need for more public education on matters of copyright law, including fair use, to promote creativity.
  • The creation of easy to read fair use best practices developed within specific creative communities by creators, lawyers and other practitioners working in that specific area to help creators make informed decisions about fair use.
  • Recognizing the importance of having a small claims copyright court to help independent creators resolve disputes that doesn’t sacrifice important copyright safeguards, like fair use, in the process.(see pg 78 of the report for some of our thoughts)

How do I find the copyright holder?

CC0- Unsplash

At New Media Rights we get quite a few questions about how to find out who owns a copyrighted work. In this new guide we’ll talk about:

  • Whether or not you need to get permission to use the work.
  • How to get permission if the creator is still alive.
  • How to get permission of the author is dead.
  • Orphan works and what happens when you can’t find the author.

YouTube's new Fair Use Protection Program

Today YouTube announced a new program to help its users stand up to bogus copyright threats from content bullies. Under the program YouTube will offer select users, with strong fair use cases, who have a video taken down under the DMCA two options:

  • Option 1: Users can follow the current process of filing a counter notice and have the video put back up worldwide in 10-14 days as required by law.
  • Option 2:  Under the new option, users will be able to keep the video up in the US. Google will also provide a vetted list seasoned copyright litigators and up to one million dollars to help with legal fees if they are sued.

While we wish the program didn’t make users choose between keeping the video up worldwide or just in the US, we understand that much of it is a result of the messy state of international copyright law. And we hope that as the program iterates it will be able to expand its scope and hopefully make some great case law reinforcing the legal consequences of sending a bogus takedown in the process. We also like the idea of having a "demo reel" of fair use examples to help YouTubers learn about fair use. You can see the first class of videos YouTube has selected for their fair use program over on YouTube here.

NMR launches law school IP and entrepreneurship clinics list!

As we've written about before there's a major justice gap when it comes to creators and entrepreneurs having access to critical legal services. While we do our best to provide free and low cost legal services, we’re only one organization. That's why we’ve created a national list of law school legal clinics as a resource to creators, entrepreneurs and even other lawyers to help find other legal clinics fighting to fill the justice gap. The clinics on the list typically provide completely free or low cost services depending on if you qualify and they have the capacity to take on new issues. Check out the complete list here.

 

New Media Rights’ final DMCA Anti-circumvention comments encourage the Copyright Office to protect fair use for all filmmakers

Today, New Media Rights submitted our final set of comments supporting exemptions that allow filmmakers to bypass encryption and technical protections measures for purposes of making fair use.

Specifically, following testimony in May, the Copyright Office requested definitions of a variety of terms including documentary, documentary-like, non-fiction, fictional, scripted, biopic, “inspired by,” imaginative, and “totally fiction” that were used in the proceeding.

In our responses to the Copyright Office's request, we explain that genre distinctions are not easily made, and that an exemption for all filmmakers is the best way to proceed. 

9th Circuit reaffirms the denial of a dangerous preliminary injunction in the case of Garcia v Google

In November, New Media Rights joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and others in filing an amicus brief urging the 9th Circuit to reaffirm the district court’s denial of a dangerous injunction that forced Google to take down the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video based on a severe misapplication of law. Monday, the court did just that. This decision is particularly good news for the filmmakers whom we work with, but it comes too late for some.

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