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.

New Media Rights seeks reform of section 1201 Anti-circumvention provisions in Copyright Office study

Before the end of 2015 the Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry and Request for Public Comment on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Section 1201 outlines the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions that make it illegal to bypass any technological protection measure (TPM) (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM)) that restricts access to copyrighted content. But simply put, it is a broken and flawed area of copyright law.

The Notice of Inquiry was intended to assess the operation of section 1201, along with the triennial (every three year) rulemaking process established under the DMCA to adopt exemptions to the prohibition against circumvention of TPM’s. Based on our long history of advocating for DMCA exemptions, New Media Rights (NMR) participated in this effort by filing a public comment on March 1, 2016. The comment addressed several questions laid out in the notice of inquiry, drawing directly from New Media Rights’s experiences from working with clients navigate 1201 on a regular basis.

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. 

Testify! Why anti-circumvention exemptions are important for ALL filmmakers

Filmmakers who want to reuse the culture around them for commentary and criticism need to understand fair use, but that's not the only legal issue they have to worry about. Even if their use is a fair use, the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions make it illegal just to bypass any encryption (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) or Technological Protection Measures (TPM)) that restricts access to that content. This is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds.  Simply accessing content to make a fair use can still be illegal under federal law, even when there is no copyright infringement!

Every 3 years, the Copyright Office considers exemptions to these anti-circumvention provisions.  The process is highly problematic, but right now its the only way to provide any relief from this overreaching law that's been on the books since 1998. This year we submitted comments on three important exemptions (regarding installing software of your choice on your devices, as well as your right to reuse video content under fair use).

On Wednesday May 20, we testified regarding Class 6, which is all about allowing filmmakers to bypass encryption on DVDs, Blu Ray discs, and online sources, to make use of content under fair use.   We want to thank California Western law students Emory Roane and Patrick McManus for their great work helping prepare comments and testimony in this proceeding.

New Media Rights to file comments supporting key Anti-Circumvention exemptions

We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation. Today's theme is "Owners Rights" and the upcoming Copyright Anti-Circumvention Exemption Proceeding.

Comments to the Copyright Anti-Circumvention Exemption Proceeding are due February 6, 2015.  As in past years (2012, 2009), New Media Rights will be offering direct evidence of the creators and consumers we work with who rely on these exemptions.  Here's a brief preview of our comment.

New Media Rights to speak on webcast DMCA panel hosted by NAMAC and the Daily Dot

New Media Rights will be speaking on a live webcast panel March 27 about the DMCA and its impact on artists and creators.  You can watch it at the link below  The panel is hosted by The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture  and The Daily Dot and will be held in a Google Hangout live at 12pm Pacific, 3pm Eastern March 27.  Specifically, we'll discuss the DMCA and the various ways its safe harbor and anti-circumvention provisions affect creators directly.

Check out the full details here.

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

Every three years the Copyright Office considers exemptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s Anti-Circumvention provisions.  These exemptions are critical to protecting otherwise legal activity by internet users and independent creators alike, but they have to be reargued every three 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 on October 26, 2012.

Check out this post to learn more about our work on these exemptions, and to read the Copyright Office's final rule.


New Media Rights files comments at the Copyright Office supporting the right to jailbreak mobile devices and lawfully reuse video content

New Media Rights has filed comments with the Copyright Office supporting three exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions.  Similar to our 2009 comment to the Copyright Office, this comment supports the right to bypass anti-circumvention technologies to a) allow individuals to take control of the apps and services they use on their mobile devices, and b) allow creators and internet users to reuse video content for fair use purposes.  Our 2012 comment also supports recommendations that these exemptions should be extended beyond their 2009 counterparts in two very important ways – we argue that jailbreaking should also apply to tablets and that the bypassing of anti-circumvention technology should include non-DVD sources.

The exemptions provide an important safety valve for otherwise lawful behavior by consumers and creators.

New Media Rights files comments supporting EFF's proposed exceptions to DMCA Anti-Circumvention 1201(a)(1) provisions

New Media Rights has filed comments with the Copyright Office supporting EFF's proposal for two exemptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act's anti-circumvention provisions. 


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