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.
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.
Let's play videos are more popular than ever, however, for many creators what's legally okay and what isn't is more unclear than ever. Come learn the basics of copyright and trademark law that you need to know to keep your videos and streams up. Also get a chance to hear from legal experts and video creators about hot topics like Easter Egg Videos, Esports and using in-game music.
Joining Art and Teri will be Wikimedia Legal Counsel and lifelong gamer Jacob Rogers, as well as Angelo Alcid attorney and writer of the Journal of Geek Law.
So if you'll be at SXSW come check it out! Don't have a badge? No worries! SXSW gaming is open to the public so if you happen to be in Austin and are willing to brave the SXSW crowds come on by! If you can’t make it, you can follow our panel on twitter using #NMR.
At New Media Rights we work to make sure artists, creators, and innovators can exercise fair use on a daily basis, regardless of their ability to pay for a lawyer. We also help clients fight back against content bullies that don’t respect fair use. It comes down to this simple equation... Fair use = freedom of expression.
We thought we’d share some of our decade's long work supporting fair use.
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)
Today YouTube announced a new program to help its users stand up to bogus copyright threats from content bullies. Under the program YouTube will offer select users, with strong fair use cases, who have a video taken down under the DMCA two options:
Option 1: Users can follow the current process of filing a counter notice and have the video put back up worldwide in 10-14 days as required by law.
Option 2: Under the new option, users will be able to keep the video up in the US. Google will also provide a vetted list seasoned copyright litigators and up to one million dollars to help with legal fees if they are sued.
While we wish the program didn’t make users choose between keeping the video up worldwide or just in the US, we understand that much of it is a result of the messy state of international copyright law. And we hope that as the program iterates it will be able to expand its scope and hopefully make some great case law reinforcing the legal consequences of sending a bogus takedown in the process. We also like the idea of having a "demo reel" of fair use examples to help YouTubers learn about fair use. You can see the first class of videos YouTube has selected for their fair use program over on YouTube here.
This Giving Tuesday, December 1, New Media Rights will be running a one-day, 24-hour fundraiser where your donations will be matched dollar for dollar up to $40,000! We need your support more than ever this year. Please pledge an amount to support@newmediarights now, and then donate on December 1 help us leverage our biggest match opportunity ever!
We’ll also be competing with all of the other wonderful programs at California Western School of Law for that $40,000 match on a first come, first matched basis. In order to maximize your impact we are asking donors to give as close as possible to 12:01am PST on December 1st! As an added bonus the first person to donate on December 1st will get a video thank you from the NMR Team!
Need a reminder? Send the dollar amount you would like to pledge to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday November 23 and we'll send you a reminder email at 12:01AM on Giving Tuesday! Even if you're not a night owl, your early bird donations can have a huge impact!
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 2012, New 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.
As we've written about before there's a major justice gap when it comes to creators and entrepreneurs having access to critical legal services. While we do our best to provide free and low cost legal services, we’re only one organization. That's why we’ve created a national list of law school legal clinics as a resource to creators, entrepreneurs and even other lawyers to help find other legal clinics fighting to fill the justice gap. The clinics on the list typically provide completely free or low cost services depending on if you qualify and they have the capacity to take on new issues. Check out the complete list here.