Policy/Legal

Geek v Troll: New Media Rights stands up for the underdogs of the Internet

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San Diego CityBeat, San Diego's alternative newsweekly, published a great cover story this past week about our work at New Media Rights.

It also has an amazing Street-Fighteresque illustration of a Geek punching a copyright troll. Check it out!

Read the whole story here!

New Media Rights invited to participate in Copyright Office panels considering potential small claims system for copyright law

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In 2012, the U.S. Copyright Office began 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 New Media Rights assists significantly.

New Media Rights has been invited by the Copyright Office to participate in hearings taking place November 26 & 27 in Los Angeles on the topic.

Executive Director Art Neill will be participating in panels discussing potential remedies and appeals, constitutional issues, and benchmarks for success of such a system.

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

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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 follow-up comments in Copyright Office inquiry into remedies for small copyright claims

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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.

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

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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.

 

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

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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.

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

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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 signs open letter sent to Congress regarding SOPA, PIPA, and internet freedom with 70 other groups

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February 6, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Art Neill, Executive Director, New Media Rights, (619) 591-8870

On February 6, 2012, New Media Rights joined approximately 70 grass-roots groups, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, human rights groups, communities of color, and Internet companies in sending a letter asking Congress to stop its work on intellectual property issues in the wake of massive public protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Read the letter in its entirety

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

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On October 27, 2011, the Copyright Office released a Notice of Inquiry soliciting commentary on how copyright holders and defendants address small copyright claims within the current legal system, the drawbacks and benefits of the current system, and potential alternative methods for handling such claims. The Copyright Office was primarily concerned that the high cost of federal copyright litigation (as much as $350,000 for claims under $1 million)  may be dissuading copyright holders from filing lawsuits where damages are relatively low, because the potential award will not justify the expense of the litigation. Unlike many other varieties of small claims, state small claims courts are not available as a venue for resolving disputes over small copyright claims, because federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright claims.  The Copyright Office suggested a number of potential solutions including creating a federal small claims court and allowing state small claims courts to hear copyright disputes.

In our January 17, 2012 comment, New Media Rights identifies a key frustration afflicting small-scale defendants, the “settling culture” that has emerged within the current system whereby defendants are intimidated into paying settlements and accepting DMCA takedown requests rather than risk the high costs of federal litigation. Copyright holders exploit the high cost of federal litigation to extract unwarranted settlements from small-scale defendants and impose improper DMCA takedowns. We tell that story with real life examples.

How mobile apps track and share your location and other personal information

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You are being tracked. The tracking device is your smartphone. And the tracker? Apple and Google. And your cellphone carrier. And software companies. And countless other third parties. And shopping malls. Oh, and also potentially law enforcement agencies.

Just what, exactly, are these groups tracking? And why? Read on to find out.

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