New Media Rights helps shape FCC Consumer Advisory Committee recommendation on openness and transparency of consumer complaint data

Today the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee approved an important recommendation to improve the FCC’s consumer complaint data reporting. New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill, and Legal Intern Marko Radisavljevic 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 extensive background work on the FCC’s current data reporting practices, the regulations that govern the FCC’s data reporting, and reporting practices at other agencies.

Based on this research and conversations with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on their widely recognized approach to complaint reporting, New Media Rights’ staff and interns helped draft a recommendation encouraging the FCC to improve the accessibility and transparency of consumer complaint data.

New Media Rights joins Knowledge Ecology International and others in cautioning against mandatory expanded copyright terms in the TPP

This week Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators will be asked to endorse a binding obligation granting copyright protection for 70 years after the death of an author.  New Media Rights joins Knowledge Ecology International, 26 other groups, and countless individuals from all over the world to tell TPP negotiators that adopting this term would be a mistake. As stated in the letter:

There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore or Australia, already have life + 70 (or longer) copyright terms, there is growing recognition that such terms were a mistake, and should be shortened, or modified by requiring formalities for the extended periods.

 

The primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound recordings and other works that are “owned” but largely not commercialized, forgotten, and lost. The extended terms are also costly to consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.

Why have the number URL removal requests gone up so dramatically in the past year?

For picture: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved byopensourceway

Starting around June of 2012, the number of URL removal requests that were sent into Google started to go up dramatically. URL removal requests increased from about 173 thousand per week at the beginning of the year, to 1.5 Million requests per week by August 2012.  By November, Google received about 6 million requests per week to remove allegedly infringing urls from search. That’s about 34.7 times the number of request Google received in January. All of this happened during a time where Google has been actively tweaking its piracy algorithms to identify more infringing links than ever. So what gives? We’re not entirely sure. However, it seems highly unlikely that this massive increase in takedown requests has any relationship to a corresponding increase in the actual amount of piracy on the web.

Our 2013 accomplishments, and how to defend rights on the internet in 2014

We continue to fulfill our non-profit mission to provide free and dramatically reduced fee one-to-one legal services to underserved creators and innovators that need specialized help with Internet, intellectual property, media, and technology law.

We're committed to helping individuals, nonprofits, and startups use their time to create and innovate, rather than fighting unnecessary legal battles.  We continue to stand up to internet censorship and those who abuse the system to bully independent creators and internet users.  Below is a list of accomplishments from 2013, and our plans for 2014.

We can't do this kind of work without your help.

Support us with a tax-deductible donation and help us start 2014 on the right foot!

We need your support to make sure hundreds of creators, innovative new media projects, and internet users like you will get the quality legal help they need to keep creating and avoid lawsuits. We are grateful for any donation in whatever amount is appropriate for you, but have 2 special levels for donors this year.

$250 - Founder (Individiual)

$500 - Founder (Organization)

$1000 Champion

You can donate now by clicking here!

In return for a donation of $250 or more, we will place your name, or your organization’s name, as well as a link to your website, on our Founders page on our website (unless you choose to give anonymously).  You'll also get a custom postcard signed by the NMR team. If you give $1000 or more, we'll also feature you prominently as a Founder & Open Internet Champion and you'll get all of the above.

Please share this page on Facebook and Twitter and let the world know you support New Media Rights!

Read more about our 2013 accomplishments, and how you can level up with a donation to support our work.

NMR Testimonial: Filmmaker Michael Singh & the documentary Valentino's Ghost

"Without New Media Rights, my latest film would have been in jeopardy.  Instead, it won a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival, and at IDFA (International Documentary Festival Amsterdam), and is designated a New York Times CRITICS' PICK.  It has also qualified for Oscar® consideration.  

But back when my team and I were obscure and struggling, I couldn't afford society prices for counsel, and needed an attorney's opinion on many fronts.  My documentary is a research/educational/study "essay film," in which several world-class experts deconstruct and analyze various images from all variety of media.  Fair Use allows us to include these short clips throughout the film.  Getting opinions on Fair Use, creating legal documents, obtaining last minute advice on strategy or bargaining situations, whenever I needed complex help or simple assistance, NMR was there for me."  

 

New Media Rights submits comments to the Request for Comments on Department of Commerce Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy

On July 31, 2013 The United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.  On September 30, 2013 they released a request for comments on that paper. All three offices were particularly interested in how copyright law could be reformed to better promote the growing digital economy.  The request for comments was incredibly broad and ranged from questions about the first sale doctrine as it relates to digital goods to the role of fair use in remix culture.

In our November 13, 2013 comment New Media Rights sought to address three of the most critical issues that affect the remixers, entrepreneurs, creators and internet users we work with every day. First, our comments addressed five key copyright law problems that need to be solved to help remix creators spend their time creating rather than fighting legal disputes including the current failure of 17 USC §512(f) to protect creators from content bullying. Second, we discourage the widespread implementation of intermediary licensing modeled off YouTube’s Content ID system because it is not, in fact, an intermediary licensing system. We also explain the implementation of such a system could be incredibly detrimental to users’ rights largely due to the lack of an effective appeals process and various design challenges in the system. Finally, we address the Department of Commerce’s question regarding how best to go about fashioning a multistakeholder process that would create a working set of best practices for the DMCA. We hope that our comments in these three areas will spark discussion and encourage badly needed copyright reform for the digital age. 

NMR Testimonial - The Dark Mod (Broken Glass Studios) - Stealth Gaming in a Gothic Steampunk World

We're thrilled to announce that one of our clients, the Dark Mod Team at Broken Glass Studios, recently launched the standalone version of their wildly popular open source game, the Dark Mod! Here's is a testimonial from the Dark Mod Team about how New Media Rights helped them launch their game. The Dark Mod is a completely open source, free to download and play game created by hundreds of dedicated volunteers all over the world, and bills itself as "Stealth Gaming in a Gothic Steampunk World."

It's an example of the best kind of collaborative creativity the internet enables, bringing to together, artists, designers, and programmers from across the planet to create something for the public.  Here's a quote from the Dark Mod

"In our case, they went into significantly more detail in gathering all the information and aspects of our specific issues, doing hard research on all the legal issues potentially raised, and then packaging it all into a weighty brief that not only answered our most pressing questions, but also was written in a practical way we could actually use as working developers.

NMR is in the business of assisting digital artists in getting their creations to the world in the right way. There are so many complex issues out there, that by itself the simple desire to do things legally and properly isn't enough. We need guidance. And as my original searches confirmed, I couldn't find any other group that was even looking at the questions we needed answered except NMR, to say nothing of a group willing to offer free assistance in meeting our goals, to say nothing of going to the great lengths NMR went to do it. NMR did all of these things."

Click here to read their full story of how New Media Rights helped the Dark Mod.

Who does California’s new revenge porn law actually protect?

California recently passed a new law criminalizing the posting of revenge porn. Revenge porn occurs when an individual, usually a former lover, post nude pictures or video taken during the course of the relationship of the other individual without that individuals consent. As the name implies, it’s usually done as an act of revenge after a particularly nasty fight or break-up.    If convicted under California’s new law individuals could face up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. The law only affects a very small portion of revenge porn victims.  Here’s what the law doesn’t protect:

It won’t protect your selfies.

Did you take the picture yourself? Unfortunately this new law only applies to photos taken by someone else. The good news is, however, if you took the photo you automatically have a copyright in that photo and may be able to file a DMCA takedown notice to get the picture taken down.  If you need help sending a takedown notice feel free to contact us.

New Media Rights tells a content bully to beat it... Just Beat It!

New Media Rights
 
It’s been a year since the Lansdowne Library Teen Advisory Board created a video to promote reading based on Michael Jackson’s iconic “Beat It,” video. After it was posted on YouTube, Sony took down the video claiming the parody was “copyright infringement.” But after taking a bit a beating in the press for content bullying these amazing teens, Sony rescinded its claim and the video went back up.

That was the end of the story until now. Recently, the audio to the parody video was muted through YouTube’s Content ID system. The Library called Sony, but Sony claimed there was nothing they could do, that the video was caught in what Sony called the “Youtube Vortex” and complaints about disabling it were old news. Together, Lansdowne librarian Abbe Klebanoff and New Media Rights have now gotten the teens’ video restored using Youtube’s appeals process, but the story is a reminder that content bullying is alive and well. Check out the full story here.


New Media Rights helps with a film that might just be on its way to the Oscars!

When we worked with Michael Singh on a variety of legal issues that came up surrounding his documentary, Valentino's Ghost, we noticed the film was excellent and told a compelling story. We didn't realize, however, that we were helping on a film that may be on its way to an Oscar nod. We want to congratulate Michael for making it to the final 120 films nominated for best feature documentary! Good luck Michael, we're all rooting for you!

Teens make parody video, but Sony tells them to beat it… just beat it!

It’s been a year since the Lansdowne Library Teen Advisory Board created a video to promote reading based on Michael Jackson’s iconic “Beat It,” video. After it was posted on YouTube, Sony took down the video claiming the parody was “copyright infringement.” But after taking a bit a beating in the press for content bullying these amazing teens, Sony rescinded its claim and the video went back up.

That was the end of the story until now. Recently, the audio to the parody video was muted through YouTube’s Content ID system. The Library called Sony, but Sony claimed there was nothing they could do, that video was caught in what Sony called the “Youtube Vortex.” Together Lansdowne librarian Abbe Klebanoff and New Media Rights have now gotten the teens’ video restored using Youtube’s appeals process, but the story is a reminder that content bullying is alive and well.

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