Policy News and Blogs

Its your turn to tell the FCC how to protect and promote the Open Internet

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On Thursday, May 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a 4 month rulemaking asking for "public comment on how best to protect and promote an open Internet." For months, regulators, consumer advocates, and service providers have wrestled over what the next steps should be after a court decision that threw out the FCC's previous open internet rules, adopted in 2010.

Now its your turn to share your ideas with the FCC. How we can promote and protect the Internet as a vital resource for years to come?

New Media Rights develops public interest principles to improve the efficiency of the DMCA notice and takedown system

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In November of 2013, New Media Rights responded to the Department of Commerce’s inquiry regarding the formation of a multistakeholder process to create a set of best practices for the DMCA notice and takedown process. That multistakeholder process has begun and New Media Rights wants to ensure that the voices of independent creators, small user generated content sites, internet users and remixers are represented.

As a first step, New Media Rights joined with a coalition of public interest groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Center for Democracy and Technology, Public Knowledge and The American Library Association, to submit a set of principles for improving the efficiency of the notice and takedown system. These principals will not only make the process more efficient for all stakeholders but also make sure that creativity and free speech are not unnecessarily chilled. 

New Media Rights joins Knowledge Ecology International and others in cautioning against mandatory expanded copyright terms in the TPP

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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.

New Media Rights joins public interest coalition opposing fast-track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Yesterday New Media Rights joined a broad coalition of 14 public interest groups asking lawmakers not to grant "fast-track" authority for trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a complex multi-national agreement that could rewrite international rules of copyright enforcement. If fast-track authority was granted Congress would not review the TTP at all, leaving no room for amendments, review or accountability for a treaty that was negotiated in near-total secrecy. As stated in the letter:

The American public has a right to know the contents of the international agreements its government is crafting. Corporations cannot be the only interests represented in this agreement, since they do not advocate for policies that safeguard or even represent the interests of the public at large. Given the administration's complete lack of transparency in negotiating the TPP, it is vitally important that democratically elected representatives are at least given the opportunity to conduct a review and push for fixes.

Right now the public has no way of knowing what the text of the TPP even says. The only reason we even have any idea what some of the agreement may end up saying is due to a leak of the "Intellectual Property" chapter in February of 2011. That leak contained some pretty scary stuff, including formalizing the U.S. ban on circumventing Digital Rights Management (DRM) software worldwide. The affect of exporting enforcement measures to parts of the world that don't have safety valves like fair use could be disastrous for remix creators.

New Media Rights features prominently in Copyright Office Small Claims recommendations

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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.

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

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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.

Is Youtube refusing to honor DMCA counter-notices?

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Unfortunately, New Media Rights has seen evidence in recent months that suggests that some large media companies have been able to override legitimate appeals and disputes by users regarding content takedowns.  Today's guest blog from Patrick McKay of the Fair Use and Youtube watchdog FairUseTube.org, explains the problem in more depth.

We're monitoring the issue closely and trying to gather additional information to help address this issue, so feel free to contact us with additional information you may have regarding DMCA counternotices that fail restore disputed content on Youtube.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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