News

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

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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. 

California Western law student helps launch new veteran's radio show, "Incoming: Stories of Veterans told in their own words"

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San Diego’s KPBS and preeminent literary & performing arts nonprofit, So Say We All, just launched a new radio show called Incoming: Stories of Veterans told in their own words.  It is a powerful, diverse set of stories where veteran’s tell own their stories..  You can hear the entire new series here on KPBS as well as Soundcloud.  The program also features music composed and performed by local San Diego musicians.

California Western School of Law and New Media Rights program student (and now graduate!), Ella Ahn, provided the legal services that made this series happen.  Learn more and hear the entire series in this post.

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

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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.

The top 10 legal issues today’s Journalists, Creators, and Entrepreneurs share

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“For too many journalists, one lawsuit could bankrupt them or their newsroom.” -Josh Stearns, GR Dodge Foundation

In our 9 year history providing legal services on over 1400 individual matters, we’ve tracked a significant convergence in the legal needs of journalists, creators and entrepreneurs. This convergence is the result of the rise in the importance of nonprofit and independent projects and the common use of the internet as the means of distribution. As a result, a common set of core legal issues has emerged among journalists, creators, and early stage tech entrepreneurs.  We share the top 10 areas of convergence below.

Photo credit: "A Bridge to Nowhere" by Paolo Crosetto on Flickr, used via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

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

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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.”

Event: Unintended consequences of hyperlocal social apps

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Hyperlocal social platforms, like Yik Yack and Whisper,  are hot right now. But when things turn ugly, or they get into the wrong hands, whose responsibility is it? Who foots the bill for the fallout? The founders and developers who didn't foresee the (negative) possibilities? Parents? Teachers? Consumers? Law enforcement?

Staff Attorney Teri Karobonik will join a panel of other experts on Thursday May 14th to discuss these issues and more at CyberHive's StartUp Breakfast; Unintended Consequences:  Who is responsible when hyperlocal social apps get in the wrong hands?

For more information and to RSVP check out theCyberTECH and CyberHive Startup Incubator Meetup page for the event here.

Executive Director to speak at UC Irvine School of Law Entertainment and Technology law Symposium

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New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill will be speaking at the March 28 UC Irvine School of Law Entertainment and Technology Law Symposium.  Art will be on a panel of experts regarding the FCC's recent decision to implement Open Internet rules by reclassifying broadband under Title II.

Déjà vu: Viacom removes Jonathan McIntosh's Daily Show remix with 2nd abusive DMCA takedown notice

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Recently, remix artist Jonathan McIntosh ( a New Media Rights client and Advisory Board member) has been facing off with Viacom. Viacom sent a second abusive DMCA takedown to the same video, despite withdrawing a DMCA takedown back in 2013.  With our help, Jonathan is appealing the takedown and working to restore the video. The incident highlights the many abusive DMCA and copyright related takedowns New Media Rights has seen over the years, often from large media companies like Viacom.  Read more about the case, and how we're helping Jonathan in this post.

February Newsletter -- Getting results: FCC now considering proposal that would actually protect the Open Internet.

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In this months newsletter:

The FCC's proposal to reclassify the Internet under Title II is a big win for the Open Internet!
Recently, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed reclassifation of the internet as a Title II communications service.  If adopted February 26, the proposal would give the FCC the legal authority it needs to preserve and protect the Open Internet. Executive Director Art Neill sat down with KPBS to discuss why the Federal Communication Commission's new Open Internet rules are necessary to ensure a free and open internet




For more on the Net Neutrality debate and what it means for you, check out our latest blog post on Net Neutrality here.

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