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

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.

At New Media Rights were working hard to ensure that process stays transparent and allows all voices to be heard. Recently we brought your stories to the USPTO and Department of Commerce as part of their process to examine and push forward copyright reform. We identified five key reforms that need to be made to ensure copyright law will help and not hinder a new generation of creators. First, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(DMCA) needs to be reformed so that there are consequences for content bulling. Second, if you buy a work or a device you should be able circumvent DRM for fair use purposes. Third, we believe the public domain shouldn’t cost $165 an hour. Fourth, the extraordinary duration of copyright needs to be empirically justified or reduced. And fifth, if a Small Claims Copyright Court is created it should have safeguards in place that protect small parties creating a viable alternative to federal court for resolving copyright disputes. We also continue to support efforts to ensure that copyright reform at the domestic and international level stays open and transparent.

Copyright week has been an excellent chance for us to reflect on these goals, but its important to remember that copyright isn't just important for a day or a week, or only important to copyright geeks and attorneys. Copyright is important every single day to everyone who creates or consumes creativity in any form, that is to say every single person on earth. In 2012 during the SOPA blackout we saw internet users stand up en mass for the first time to demand a balanced copyright system that avoids breaking the internet. But as an internet community we cannot let that be our last stand. Its imperative for the future of creativity around that world that we all stay active and involved to ensure any copyright reform helps us better realize the potential of copyright law to promote creativity and allow for the free exchange of ideas.



If you have a question about copyright you can contact us here. And if you’d like to support our work you can donate here. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. You can also follow Copyright Week and sign up to support the six principals here.

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