About Us

New Media Rights is an independently funded non-profit program of California Western School of Law that provides legal services to creators, entrepreneurs, journalists, and internet users whose projects require specialized internet, intellectual property, privacy, and media law expertise

Staff / Board  

Legal services





For Grantors

We are known for our work against content bullying. In addition, we turn what we learn into hundreds of freely available video and written legal education guides for creators and consumers. We've participated in regulatory proceedings at the Copyright Office, the FCC, and the California Public Utilities Commission, including Net Neutrality, DMCA Anti-circumvention proceedings, Copyright Reform, and the Copyright small claims court proceedings.

When we're not helping individuals, we focus on assisting organizations that provide better access to public information, more business and government accountability, or new perspectives to the cultural landscape through the use of new technologies.

Many of the questions people have about who we are, how we operate, and why we do what we do are answered on our frequently asked questions page. If you're a grantor or foundation, we ask that you support our work, and we invite you to take a look at our accomplishments below.

We want to thank those who make our services possible, particularly our individual donors, California Western School of Law, Rose Foundation, DuckDuckGo, and the City of San Diego Economic Development Department.  

A Brief History of New Media Rights’ Accomplishments

20212020201920182017 | 20162015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2007-2009


  • Continuing our participation since 2009, NMR staff and California Western law students worked on behalf of creators and consumers to maintain three key exemptions to the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions. These exemptions help ensure that documentary filmmakers and noncommercial video creators can access materials in fair use for their work, and that consumers can install the apps and software of their choice on their smartphones. On October 27, 2021 the Copyright Office revealed the results of their 2021 Anti-Circumvention Rulemaking. All three of the exemptions NMR petitioned to renew have been renewed, and we are cited 8 times in the new recommendation.
  • Launched a new guide about advertising law for businesses and nonprofits that discusses key advertising laws and regulations as they apply to a wide range of industries.
  • Received $25,000 grant from the Conrad Prebys Foundation to support our work with creatives and creative organizations in San Diego who need specialized internet, arts, and media law expertise.
  • Filed comments with the Copyright Office on the rulemaking regarding the initiation of proceedings and procedures related to claims brought before the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) under the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act.
  • Provided legal services to filmmakers and podcasters seeking legal advice related to their social impact films and projects, including films and podcasts about: a story of survival and heroism in the face of an avalanche, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of young students, an Olympics Gymnastics controversy, San Diego’s ties with the history of skateboarding, and cycles of activism and social change throughout history. 
  • Received $20,000 grant from Grant for the Web to support our work with individuals and startups working with and developing new web monetization technology.
  • Reached the 1900th sale of our book Don’t Panic :) A Legal Guide (in plain English) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals. Courses nationwide now use Don't Panic as part of their coursework, from UCSD, to Berklee College of Music, San Diego City College, Rochester Institute of Technology, San Diego State University, and more! You can get your copy of Don’t Panic today
  • Contributed to the first Me2B Alliance recommendation, “The Attributes for Safe and Respectful Me2B Commitments,” which establishes a high-level set of data use and privacy standards that technology makers can commit to and apply to their new technology. 
  • Continued our partnership with the San Diego Miramar College Regional Entrepreneurship Center (REC) to provide legal workshops and consultation sessions to early-stage startups.
  • Provided consultations and legal services to projects engaging in and developing web monetization technology under a grant from the Grant for the Web.
  • Brought our expertise to the community with presentations and workshops at KPBS, the 5th Annual Legal Ethics Conference hosted by California Western School of Law, California State University Northridge, and Otis College of Art and Design.
  • Spoke to the Washington Post about Warner Bros.' successful efforts to stop a Maryland brewery attempting to register a trademark for the name of its beer, "Surrender Dorothy" (which depicted a yellow brick road passing under a DC area beltway overpass, with the DC-area Mormon temple depicted in the background), which was a reference to iconic Washington-DC area beltway graffiti.
  • Contributed to a report from Me2B Alliance that exposed hidden functionalities that allowed mobile apps used in schools to send data to third parties without proper disclosure in 60% of the apps tested. The report received significant press attention, including a write up by the Washington Post.
  • Continued to grow our CLE partnership with ALM and West LegalEdCenter producing new CLE videos in our niche practice areas.




  • Received $40,000 grant from the City of San Diego Economic Development Department to support our work with local San Diego small businesses.
  • Served clients working in healthcare, consumer technology, robotics, e-commerce, software, and nonprofit sectors, who had complex intellectual property, contract, and privacy law issues. This year we also worked with various creative professionals, including social media influencers, videogame developers, educational media services, and even podcasts, like Device.
  • Provided legal services to filmmakers and nonprofits seeking legal advice related to their social impact films and projects, including films about: the effects of gender stereotyping in sports, WWII military heroism, racial and political conflicts related to birthright citizenship laws, cycles of activism and social change throughout history, sexual harassment in the workplace, gentrification within local neighborhood, racial and religious stereotyping, and voter suppression laws. In one specific example, we helped to bring the story of the important but relatively unknown farm workers' rights advocate Maria Moreno to PBS.
  • Joined the Free Expression Legal Network, a nationwide coalition of law school clinics, academics, and practitioners focused on promoting and protecting free speech, free press, and the free flow of information to an informed and engaged citizenry.
  • Spoke to Bloomberg Law about copyright, trademark, and trade dress in a recent dispute that involved the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets, Coogi, and Biggie Smalls; Money about the Vine compilation copyright wars; the San Francisco Chronicle and Business Insider about the new California bill that sets a stricter test to classify workers as independent contractors; and Bloomberg Law about the issues involved with trying to claim copyright protection over historical information in a Hamilton exhibit.
  • Filed comments with the Copyright Office advocating for modernization of the copyright registration system, addressing key issues with the current options available for registering videos, issues with the online registration system interface, and the usefulness of the public copyright catalogue.
  • Wrote an article about modernizing the copyright registration system for videos, which has been accepted for publication in the  Fall 2019 University of Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal!
  • Received a $40,000 grant from the Rose Foundation to support our work providing legal services and educational resources to individuals creating, working with and encountering consumer technology, and compliance with truthful online advertising practices.
  • Partnered with the Community Law Project to present a media and privacy law presentation at Hoover High School in San Diego, including topics like deceptive advertising online, data collection laws like the Children’s Online Privacy Act, and how social media sites comply with these laws.
  • Launched a new series of online videos for attorneys to receive continuing legal education with ALM, and West Publishing, one of the largest legal publishers in the world. This will also serve as an additional revenue stream for the program.
  • Reached our 1,300th sale of our book Don’t Panic :) A Legal Guide (in plain English) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals. This year, classes at UCSD, Berkelee College of Music, and the Rochester Institute of Technology started using Don’t Panic as part of their coursework, which brings the number of courses that use Don’t Panic to over 10! You can get your copy of Don’t Panic today
  • Signed on to an amicus brief supporting keeping the law free for all to access and use, and ensuring that private parties do not interfere with public access to the documents that govern our daily lives.
  • Launched a new guide that addresses copyright use while teaching in the classroom, walking through some important exemptions under copyright law for certain performances and displays of copyrighted works in the classroom (and certain limited online learning situations). 
  • Brought our legal knowledge to the community with presentations and workshops at the Bioneers 2019 ConferenceKPBS Explore Local Content Program, Arts for Learning San Diego’s Kickstart the ArtsSD Film WeekCalifornia Lawyers for the Arts, the SD Media Pros, Otis College of Art and Design, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego State University.




Entering our 10th year, New Media Rights provided more free and low cost legal services to underserved artists and creators this year than ever before. We also created valuable educational resources and advocated for changes to copyright and communications law to protect fair use and the open internet.  Here's the highlights:

  • Published our new book, Don't Panic :) A Legal Guide (in plain english) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals. The book has been adopted by 10 undergraduate and graduate classes and sold over 250 copies.  You can buy the book here!
  • Provided services on our 2000th legal matter and served more than 500,000 visitors to our online educational resources
  • Worked to provide legal services to filmmakers and nonprofits seeking legal advice related to their social impact films and online videos, including films that address gender and racial discriminationenvironmental degradationpublic health issues, gun violence, and human trafficking, to name a few.
  • Updated and improved our Fair Use App which provides filmmakers and video creators with a practical tool for learning more about copyright law. The app is now used daily by filmmakers across the planet.
  • Advocated for reform of the DMCA Anticircumvention provisions in the U.S. Copyright Office's formal study on the issue.
  • Advocated for reform of the DMCA Section 512 Safe Harbor provisions in the U.S. Copyright Office's formal study on the issue.
  • Brought our legal knowledge to you at SXSW, KPBS San Diego, AALS Clinical Conference in Baltimore Maryland, San Diego City College, San Diego State University, Fablab, San Diego Filmmakers, and more!
  • Worked successfully as a member of the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer Advisory Committee to improve the availability of consumer complaint data available from the FCC.  After over 2 years of work on this issue, the FCC is now in the process of rolling out it's new open data system.


Read our 2015 accomplishments blog post for more on 2015 at NMR.


Read our 2014 accomplishments blog post for more on 2014 at NMR.


  • In November 2013, we provided services to our 860th tech & media law inquiry since June 2010. We continue to provide free or nominal fee legal services to hundreds of clients consisting of copyright, free speech, media, and internet law matters with annual budget of less than $150,000.
  • For example, we provided legal services to a variety of preventive and transactional projects that launched to substantial accolades, including a film that might be on its way to an Oscar nod and a seriously amazing open source independent video game
  • We continued our efforts to fight content bullying. In Januarys, we helped remix artist Jonathan McIntosh get his amazing 'Buffy Versus Edward' remix back up after it was repeatedly taken down. In September, we helped the Media Literacy Project stand up to a bogus copyright claim from a third party. In October, we also helped the Lansdowne Library Teen Advisory Board get their video unmuted after it was disabled for the second time through YouTube’s Content ID system.
  • We held our first 3D printing advice night in conjunction with FAB LAB SD and provided valuable intellectual property guidance to a half dozen innovators whose work truly inspired us.
  • We participated in hearings that helped mold legislation for a new copyright small claims court and wrote comments to try to reform copyright law for the digital age.
  • We continued to add to our library of video legal guides, including our LAGD series for indie game developers, and our Copyright FAQ series.  We also produced a timely video this past Spring to explain the new Copyright Alert System monitoring internet subscribers' internet connections.  In jsut the last year we've had nearly 120,000 views of our 150+ video library, and we now have over 2300 subscribers! 
  • We launched our guide to Free Speech and Censorship for Students
  • We provided more than 10 workshops in California to independent creators and Internet users.
  • We educated 5-6 law students each trimester [Spring, Fall, and Summer] in public interest internet law issues.

Read our 2013 accomplishments blog post for more on 2013 at NMR.


  • We continued our growth from 2011 by assisting 400 tech & media law inquiries (copyright, free speech, media, and internet law matters) with free or reduced cost legal services while utilizing an annual budget of less than $150,000.
  • For example, New Media Rights helped reinstate the popular Buffy vs. Edward video after it was improperly monetized by YouTube’s Content ID system and then improperly taken down by the Lionsgate movie company.
  • We released over 13 hours of educational video that has been cumulatively viewed more than 100,000 times including a series of videos explaining copyright law and LAGD, a series that features advice from established developers on how to avoid legal problems in the industry.
  • LAGD got #1 spot on Reddit games. We put together a fundraiser to support this work and these videos where we raised more than $4,000.
  • We continued to support net neutrality through our work with coalitions such as the coalition of more than 70 organizations that sent a letter to Congress regarding SOPA and PIPA’s impact on internet freedom.
  • We worked with the EFF in the recent DMCA “anti-circumvention” proceeding and provided the direct evidence needed to secure important exemptions for smartphone users and independent creators.
  • We provided more than 15 workshops in California to independent creators and Internet users.
  • We educated 6-8 law student law clerks per semester in public interest internet law issues
  • By providing specific stories to the Copyright Office, we helped protect users’ rights to jailbreak or root their mobile phones and the rights of video creators on YouTube. We partnered with other organizations like EFF to ensure these rights were protected for another 3 years.

Read our 2012 accomplishments blog post for more on 2012 at NMR.



  • We received a grant from the California Consumer Protection Foundation, which allowed us to continue our work in supporting consumers and creators with free or low cost one-to-one legal assistance.
  • We assisted more than 260 individuals from July to December.
  • We were one of the first groups to request that the California Public Utilities Commission review the AT&T – T-mobile merger. After the CPUC opened an investigation we submitted comments to the proceeding. You can read our CPUC comments and our additional comments, and our petition to the FCC to deny the merger.
  • We used the stories of the individuals we assist to illustrate how this merger would have serious effects on innovation in the wireless and mobile application space, mobile broadband access, network discrimination, telecom jobs, and consumer protection including prices and choice of wireless carriers.
  • We created 3 long-form guides and 72 shorter-form 1-3 page guides geared toward highly specific questions about copyright law that we regularly receive. We also created a guide for defendants in mass copyright lawsuits (Bit Torrent cases) for the thousands of internet users who were implicated in these cases who could not afford even basic information about these cases.
  • After planning Drumbeat in 2010, 2011 was the year our Mozilla-sponsored even Drumbeat San Diego actually happened.

Read more about New Media Rights’ 2011 accomplishments.


  • We've helped hundreds of creators with one-to-one assistance with legal issues including copyright and online publishing questions.
  • We created legal guides including:
  • We joined the Coalition for the Competition in Media to advocate for consumers and independent creators by opposing the Comcast-NBC merger.
  • We also joined a coalition of groups led by the Government Accountability Project calling for increased Whistleblower protections through the Whistleblower Protection Act.
  • We were among the most active partners in the Online Media Legal Network at Harvard Berkman Center.
  • We became a cooperating attorney with Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and helped many targets in predatory filesharing cases understand their digital rights.  We also helped many others who were referred for assistance with their digital rights.
  • We hosted a free film screening of 10 Tactics, a movie about how to use new media to enable global activism in October of 2010.
  • Art Neill, NMR’s Executive Director, published "Social Media and the Law: Here Comes Everybody!" in the California Business Law Practitioner.
  • We filed comments in the FCC Future of Media proceeding. Some of the topics our comments to the FCC discussed included: (A) how to rebuild of the local and national media landscape to encourage participatory, citizen involved media that helps local communities identify and meet local challenges; (B) government data availability and usage of public media; and (C) the role of public vs. commercial media
  • NMR also filed comments with the FCC regarding the Broadband Legal Framework and the "Third Way." Our comments discussed the Commission's decision to reclassify broadband internet under Title II, and the implications that reclassification would have on consumer protection and the future of the internet.
  • We worked with Mozilla to united diverse individuals locally to work on creative new media projects and organized Drumbeat San Diego.