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New Media Rights joins Electronic Frontier Foundation in urging reconsideration of dangerous Garcia v Google copyright ruling

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New Media Rights has joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and others in filing an Amicus Brief urging a federal appeals court to reconsider it's decision to order Google to take down the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video in Garcia v Google.

Most of our work at New Media Rights is preventative and transactional, focused on helping people avoid legal problems and lengthy court battles before they begin. In this case, however, we've joined in filing this Amicus Brief because the recent decision, if not reconsidered, will have negative consequences for free speech that will directly affect the creators and innovators we assist.

As it stands, the court's decision threatens to create sprawling, poorly defined copyright protection in a variety of creative contributors, altering the way that copyright law protects contributions to film and video productions.

Fortress of Attitude defeats false bots takedown on YouTube

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In January 2013, we brought you the story of Fortress of Attitude who had their song “PS Gay Car” removed after it was misflagged for violating “TOU #4 Section H”, that is using Bots or other automated means to inflate a YouTube video’s view count. The good news is that video and its view have been fully restored only four months after the last appeal to YouTube! Granted we’re not sure which of our many appeals resulted in the video being restored since Fortress of Attitude never received any notice from YouTube that the video had been restored.

The bad news is that this is the only successful appeal we’ve seen in over a year of covering this issue. And even worse, despite the February 14th blog post from YouTube that seemed to indicate YouTube would start adjusting view counts of videos accused of bots inflation instead of removing videos; we’ve seen a recent influx of unsuccessfully appealed wrongful bots takedowns.

As much as we want to celebrate Fortress of Attitude’s victory, the reality is the bots problem on YouTube is still very real.

April Newsletter: NMR victories for consumer transparency and broadband access for students at the FCC!

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Spring started with a bang here at New Media Rights. At the FCC our work set the stage for making consumer complaint data more accessible and ensuring that more students across the United States have high speed internet access then ever before at schools and libraries. We brought the fight against content bullying to South by South West Interactive. All the while helping creators, entrepreneurs and internet users with complicated legal questions. While we catch our breath, here's some details on what we've been up to.

We shaped and passed an FCC Consumer Advisory Committee recommendation on improving broadband access in U.S. schools and libraries

On Friday, March 28, the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee approved an important recommendation to modernize and improve the way we bring high-speed broadband to classrooms and libraries around the county.  New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill, and Legal Interns Marko Radisavljevic and Kyle Welch were directly involved in the research, drafting, and proposal of this recommendation. The other co-chair of the Broadband Working Group is Mia Martinez of the National Asian American Coalition, pictured below with Art Neill and her NAAC colleague Ruriko Sato on March 28 after passage of the E-rate recommendation.



New Media Rights conducted an extensive review of the FCC’s E-rate program, including analyzing a vast amount of input on the program from a variety of stakeholders. Based on this research, New Media Rights’ staff and interns helped lead the efforts to draft a recommendation encouraging the FCC to modernize and improve the 18 year old E-rate program for the 21st century.  The recommendations include both general priorities as well as specific process priorities that will improve the E-rate program. 

You can learn more about our work on E-rate here.

New Media Rights helps shape FCC Consumer Advisory Committee recommendation on improving broadband access in U.S. schools and libraries

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On Friday, March 28, the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee approved an important recommendation to modernize and improve the way we bring high-speed broadband to classrooms and libraries around the county.  New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill, and Legal Interns Marko Radisavljevic and Kyle Welch were directly involved in the research, drafting, and proposal of this recommendation.

New Media Rights’ Executive Director Art Neill is a member of the CAC, and co-chair of the Broadband Working Group. 

New Media Rights conducted an extensive review of the FCC’s E-rate program, including analyzing a vast amount of input on the program from a variety of stakeholders. Based on this research, New Media Rights’ staff and interns helped lead the efforts to draft a recommendation encouraging the FCC to modernize and improve the 18 year old E-rate program for the 21st century.  The recommendations include both general priorities as well as specific process priorities that will improve the E-rate program. 

NMR joins USA Doing Archives' discussion of copyright and the law surrounding digital archive projects

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Ever wondered how copyright and other laws affect the work that archivists do? Here at NMR we’ve helped our fair share of archivists; so we were happy to participate in Doing Archives first Hang out On Air at New England Archivists Spring 2014 meeting.  We joined Christopher Felker, creator of Doing Archives as well as Henrik Mondrup from Aalborg University Copenhagen and Heather Nodler a law student at Georgetown and former archivist for an informative discussion on the current state of archives and the law.  Missed the live hangout? No worries, you can find a recording of the entire thing above.

Also if you an archivist, academic or scholar; New Media Rights is here to help with your legal questions. For more information, check out our “Services We Provide Page” we made especially for you!

We’re off to SXSW!

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Photo AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by alexdecarvalho

Thanks to your votes, New Media Rights is heading to SXSW interactive in Austin, Texas. On Tuesday March 11th at 12:30PM in the Driskill Hotel Ballroom we’ll be presenting our panel “Stand Up To Content Bullies, Know Your Copy Rights”.

At New Media Rights we know copyright laws are complicated, and they're often the reason why your videos, mobile apps, and other content may get taken down. "Fair use" is complicated, but it's often the reason you can get your content back up. Our panel will teach real-world best practices to use the law, YouTube's rules, and practical steps to fight back against content bullies.

Not only will we provide SXSW audiences with great best practices developed from our many years helping video creators but pop culture hacker Jonathan McIntosh will join us as our special guest creator.  Johnathan is a pop-culture hacker and remix artist that we helped get his video Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed put back up on YouTube after it was taken down by content bullies. McIntosh’s pro-feminist video is a metaphor for the ongoing battle between two opposing visions of gender roles in the 21st century. Over the past three years, this video has been used in law school programs, media studies courses and gender studies curricula across the world.  Who better to talk about standing up to content bullies than a highly skilled content creator who has stood up to content bullies and actually won!

If you’re at SXSW please come by to hear what should be an amazing panel (if you’re not at SXSW you can follow our session on twitter using #nmr).

The curious case of the YouTube Bots- updated 2-19-14

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Photo AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Santos "Grim Santo" Gonzalez

UPDATE: 2-19-14

It could be entirely coincidental but on February 14th the official YouTube Creators blog had a post about bots inflation on YouTube. You can read the whole blog here. The blog certainly isn’t a complete response to our blog nor does it address the many complex layers of the Bots problem but it does recognize two important things.

First it recognizes the importance of likes and comments to the YouTube community and acknowledges that these “interactions both represent and inform how creators connect with their audience.” This was one of the biggest complaints we heard from creators. Not just that their videos were taken down but that they permanently lost the likes, insightful comments and best wishes from their fans. Even when creators reposted their videos they were unable to recover this part of their community.

Second, the blog may suggest that YouTube may focus on auditing view counts as opposed to taking videos down. The blog states that:

As part of our long-standing effort to keep YouTube authentic and full of meaningful interactions, we’ve begun periodically auditing the views a video has received. While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light. We don’t expect this approach to affect more than a minuscule fraction of videos on YouTube, but we believe it’s crucial to improving the accuracy of view counts and maintaining the trust of our fans and creators.

Although YouTube has been auditing views for some time now, there has been an inconsistent policy of removing some videos while simply auditing views of other videos. If YouTube’s new plan is to audit views instead of taking videos down; we support that plan. Almost every single creator who we talked to wanted a way to remove fraudulent views from their accounts. These creators are part of the YouTube community and believe in the importance of accurate view counts.  However, these creators don’t want to be punished when someone out of their control uses Bots on their account. By reducing view counts instead of taking down videos, the potential use of Bots attacks for censorship purposes greatly decreases, which was one of our biggest concerns.

That said if the recent blog doesn’t match reality we want to hear about it.  After all, it could be a complete coincidence that this blog was released shortly after our own blog. It is still entirely plausible that nothing is actually changing and YouTube intends to continue to ignore problematic Bots related takedowns. That said, if you video was wrongfully taken down for bots inflation AFTER February 14, 2014 we want to hear about it.

On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we look forward to ensure we get copyright right.

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On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we recognize that copyright reform is badly needed for the digital age.  This reform need not, and should not, take the form of any radical evisceration of copyright. At the same time, reform should not be used as an opportunity to continue unreasonable expansion of copyright law without concern for the collateral damage it causes to artistic progress, freedom of speech, and the intellectual enrichment of the public.  Rather, much like one would tend to a garden, it is time we examine our current copyright law, remove the old weeds of law that no longer serve us, and plant the seeds of new law that will help to foster  a new generation of artists and creators. And above all, the removal of those weeds must be a transparent process where all voices are heard.

Celebrating Copyright Week with Films, Stories, and more!

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This is the reaction we got from Radio KSCR's Jowanna Lewis at the New Media Expo when we told her about the services we provide to creators and internet users. We want to thank everyone who donated and helped NMR surpass our $5,000.00 end of year goal, especially our new Founders and Champions. Your support provides legal services that ensure the free exchange of ideas and creativity one case at a time and through open educational resources available to everyone.  We've gotten things rolling quickly this year.

Copyright Week
Monday January 13- Saturday January 18th New Media Rights will join the Electronic Frontier Foundation in celebrating Copyright Week. Copyright Week's goal is to raise awareness of the importance of copyright law in everyday life and put a spotlight critical challenges in the digital age. At New Media Rights we'll be using the week to spotlight some of the stories of individuals we've helped to help explain copyright law's complicated impact on the free exchange of ideas and creativity in the digital age. Stay tuned to newmediarights.org as well as our  Twitter and Facebook pages for updates on many copyright issues throughout the week.

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