Policy News and Blogs

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)

2015 DMCA Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking: Significant Victories, but a Broken Process

Every three years the Copyright Office meets to reconsider exemptions to the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions. These exemptions are critical to ensuring creators and consumers’ ability to bypass technological protection measures on copyrighted works, allowing them to make fair use of works in a variety of circumstances.  As we did in 2012New Media Rights submitted extensive comments and testimony, working on behalf of creators and consumers to maintain and expand on the exemptions currently in place.

On October 27, the Copyright Office revealed the results of their 2015 Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking. Many of our recommendations were adopted, and we were cited repeatedly in the rulemaking.

This is usually the part where we say we’re proud to have been a part of making sure these vital exemptions were granted and expanded.  We are proud of our contributions and we’ll highlight those below, but we also need to take amount to keep it real.  The DMCA Anti-circumvention rulemaking is broken.

New California privacy laws require search warrants for digital information, Smart TV disclosures, and drone restrictions

New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill recently sat down with San Diego's KPBS to discuss new privacy laws signed by Governor Jerry Brown in California.  The video interview is below, and here's a link to the longer form radio interview.  

New Media Rights and KEI tell the US Trade Representative not to adopt measures that could expand the “20th­ century digital black hole"

Today New Media Rights joined the Authors Alliance, Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Knowledge Ecology International in calling for the US Trade Representative not to agree to measures in the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TTP) that could greatly reduced our ability to make orphaned works more accessible to the public.

New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill reappointed to FCC Consumer Advisory Committee for a third term

New Media Rights' internet user and consumer advocacy efforts were recognized again this week with the appointment of New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill to a third term on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC). Neill previously has served as the Co-Chair of the CAC’s Broadband Working Group.  Staff Attorney Teri Karobonik will join Neill, serving as New Media Rights’ alternate representative to the CAC for a second term. The FCC committee works to serve the interests of consumers by soliciting their input during the regulatory process and working to improve consumer access to modern communications services.

 “Our appointment to the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee gives us a place where we can share the concerns of internet users and consumers directly with regulators,” said Neill. “Good public policy starts with actually knowing what’s happening on the ground. New Media Rights focuses its efforts on helping a variety of consumers and creators often left out of conversations about public policy that affects them.”

PRESS RELEASE: President Obama urges the FCC to adopt real net neutrality

New Media Rights is pleased to announce that this morning President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify the Internet under Title II. In plain language, the President came out in support of real net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally. New Media Rights has been advocating for reclassification in our recent Open Internet comments  to the FCC (and our reply comments) as well as in our letter to the President and his Office of Science and Technology Policy. We thank the President for his support of Title II reclassification and encourage the FCC to adopt the President's position. Here's the President's statement.

New Media Rights joins Sunlight Foundation in calling for openness of state legislature data

This week is Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW), and New Media Rights has joined the Sunlight Foundation and many other public interest groups in calling on state legislatures in the United States to improve the availability and accessibility of state legislative data.

Here's the full text of the letter.  You can learn more about the letter and GLOW on the Sunlight Foundation's website.


Our reply to large cable and wireless companies in FCC's Open Internet proceeding; we won't just take your word for it

Today we filed our reply comments in the FCC's Open Internet proceeding.  We focused on a series of claims by broadband providers that are simply not supported in the record, and amount to a "take our word for it" approach.  As with our initial comments, our goal is meaningful, defensible protections for the Open Internet under Title II of the Communications Act.

New Media Rights joins global coalition of access to research, science and education organizations to call on STM to withdraw new model licenses.

Today, New Media Rights joined a global coalition of access to research, science and education organizations to call on STM to withdraw their new model licenses.  The new model licenses are not only largely incompatible with other open licenses systems but are also internally inconsistent. This new licensing system will also likely cause substantial confusion and do more to impede the flow of critical scientific research than it will to foster knowledge.   Finally the new licenses will also create substantial legal uncertainty, which could only be resolved through costly litigation in multiple jurisdictions all around the world.

A complete list of signatories as well as the full letter can be found here.

Policy update: New Media Rights files amicus brief in Capitol Records vs Vimeo & participates in Los Angeles copyright roundtable

This week has been a busy week for copyright reform and New Media Rights has been in the thick of it to make sure that the voices of independent creators, entrepreneurs and internet users are represented.

Tuesday, Staff Attorney Teri Karobonik participated in the Los Angeles round of the USPTO/NTIA’s ongoing series of roundtables about copyright reform. Teri participated in both the statutory damages roundtable and the panel regarding laws around remixes.  A recording of the roundtable can be found here. In addition to following our work in these proceedings, you can also keep up to date on the USPTO's website.


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