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.
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.
The first annual TwitchCon was held this September in San Francisco. New Media Rights rounded up some of our favorite video game fans for an awesome panel called “Can We Just Play? The Legality of Let's Play Video and Streams.” The panel addressed the basics of copyright and trademark law that Twitch Streamers and Video Creators need to know to keep their videos and streams up. Our thanks go out to our awesome panelists (listed left to right) Angelo Alcid, Art Neill, Jonathan McIntosh and Teri Karobonik.
Missed out on TwitchCon this year? No worries! Check out the archive of our panel after the jump!
You may have heard about our fair use app…we hear its kind of a thing now. This summer California Western School of Law did a featured front page story all about our app and our amazing student interns who helped us create it. You can check it out over on the CWSL site here.
Are you a student at California Western School of Law passionate about helping artists, entrepreneurs and internet users with legal issues brought about by the digital age? This spring we will once again be offering an opportunity to be a part of our clinic class, check out our intern page for more details on how to apply. Applications open September 9th and close October 9th.