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New Media Rights supports critical protections for military whistleblowers

Speaking out on wrongdoing in the military can be particularly challenging for service members who are trained to stay in line and follow orders. The stakes could not be higher for military whistleblowers who speak out against fraud, waste, abuse, and sexual assault in the military. A recent report by the Government Accountability Office noted a number of deficiencies in the protections offered to members of the military who report wrongdoing, and far too often, those whistleblowers are unfairly punished for their efforts to bring accountability to the armed services.

This is why New Media Rights recently joined with a variety of organizations, including Project on Government Oversight, Government Accountability Project​, Public Citizen​, Sunlight Foundation​, Demand Progress​ and others, in sending a letter to Congressional leaders supporting critical protections f in sending a letter to Congressional leaders supporting critical protections for military whistleblowers.  We've worked with various filmmakers and creators who bring light to issues in our military. These have included working on an important film about the treatment of workers in U.S. bases overseas, and a recently launched podcast on Veteran's issues.

New Media Rights’ final DMCA Anti-circumvention comments encourage the Copyright Office to protect fair use for all filmmakers

Today, New Media Rights submitted our final set of comments supporting exemptions that allow filmmakers to bypass encryption and technical protections measures for purposes of making fair use.

Specifically, following testimony in May, the Copyright Office requested definitions of a variety of terms including documentary, documentary-like, non-fiction, fictional, scripted, biopic, “inspired by,” imaginative, and “totally fiction” that were used in the proceeding.

In our responses to the Copyright Office's request, we explain that genre distinctions are not easily made, and that an exemption for all filmmakers is the best way to proceed. 

California Western law student helps launch new veteran's radio show, "Incoming: Stories of Veterans told in their own words"

San Diego’s KPBS and preeminent literary & performing arts nonprofit, So Say We All, just launched a new radio show called Incoming: Stories of Veterans told in their own words.  It is a powerful, diverse set of stories where veteran’s tell own their stories..  You can hear the entire new series here on KPBS as well as Soundcloud.  The program also features music composed and performed by local San Diego musicians.

California Western School of Law and New Media Rights program student (and now graduate!), Ella Ahn, provided the legal services that made this series happen.  Learn more and hear the entire series in this post.

Testify! Why anti-circumvention exemptions are important for ALL filmmakers

Filmmakers who want to reuse the culture around them for commentary and criticism need to understand fair use, but that's not the only legal issue they have to worry about. Even if their use is a fair use, the DMCA Anti-Circumvention provisions make it illegal just to bypass any encryption (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) or Technological Protection Measures (TPM)) that restricts access to that content. This is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds.  Simply accessing content to make a fair use can still be illegal under federal law, even when there is no copyright infringement!

Every 3 years, the Copyright Office considers exemptions to these anti-circumvention provisions.  The process is highly problematic, but right now its the only way to provide any relief from this overreaching law that's been on the books since 1998. This year we submitted comments on three important exemptions (regarding installing software of your choice on your devices, as well as your right to reuse video content under fair use).

On Wednesday May 20, we testified regarding Class 6, which is all about allowing filmmakers to bypass encryption on DVDs, Blu Ray discs, and online sources, to make use of content under fair use.   We want to thank California Western law students Emory Roane and Patrick McManus for their great work helping prepare comments and testimony in this proceeding.

The top 10 legal issues today’s Journalists, Creators, and Entrepreneurs share

“For too many journalists, one lawsuit could bankrupt them or their newsroom.” -Josh Stearns, GR Dodge Foundation

In our 9 year history providing legal services on over 1400 individual matters, we’ve tracked a significant convergence in the legal needs of journalists, creators and entrepreneurs. This convergence is the result of the rise in the importance of nonprofit and independent projects and the common use of the internet as the means of distribution. As a result, a common set of core legal issues has emerged among journalists, creators, and early stage tech entrepreneurs.  We share the top 10 areas of convergence below.

Photo credit: "A Bridge to Nowhere" by Paolo Crosetto on Flickr, used via Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license

Déjà vu: Viacom removes Jonathan McIntosh's Daily Show remix with 2nd abusive DMCA takedown notice

Recently, remix artist Jonathan McIntosh ( a New Media Rights client and Advisory Board member) has been facing off with Viacom. Viacom sent a second abusive DMCA takedown to the same video, despite withdrawing a DMCA takedown back in 2013.  With our help, Jonathan is appealing the takedown and working to restore the video. The incident highlights the many abusive DMCA and copyright related takedowns New Media Rights has seen over the years, often from large media companies like Viacom.  Read more about the case, and how we're helping Jonathan in this post.

Why the FCC's proposal to reclassify the Internet under Title II is a big win for the Open Internet

Recently, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed reclassifation of the internet as a Title II communications service.  The move gives the FCC the legal authority it needs to preserve and protect and preserve the Open Internet.

This is a good thing.  Here's a TV interview we did explaining what's going on.

 

KUSI News - San Diego, CA

You can also listen to a more in depth interview here.

Without this reclassification we face the trade-off of improved profits for already hugely profitable companies, in exchange for the internet as we know it. This trade-off is unacceptable to the creators and consumers we serve.

The nature of the internet as an open, accessible network has allowed individuals and businesses to create technologies and services that have transformed our world.  It also has allowed individuals and organizations to speak and communicate with audiences in unprecedented ways. 

New Media Rights files comments at the Copyright Office supporting the right to jailbreak mobile devices and lawfully reuse video content

New Media Rights has filed comments with the Copyright Office supporting four specific exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions that will protect both internet users and creators' rights under fair use. Exemptions are argued every 3 years, and ensure that accessing copyrighted material for purposes of fair use don't needlessly violate federal law.

Similar to our 2009 and 2012 comments to the Copyright Office, these comments offer direct evidence supporting the right of internet users and video creators to circumvent technological protection measures to a) allow individuals to take control of the apps and services they use on their mobile devices, and b) allow creators, internet users, and filmmakers to reuse video content for fair use purposes. Thanks to our legal intern California Western School of Law 2L Pat McManus for his assistance in preparing these comments.

New Media Rights to file comments supporting key Anti-Circumvention exemptions


We're taking part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation. Today's theme is "Owners Rights" and the upcoming Copyright Anti-Circumvention Exemption Proceeding.

Comments to the Copyright Anti-Circumvention Exemption Proceeding are due February 6, 2015.  As in past years (2012, 2009), New Media Rights will be offering direct evidence of the creators and consumers we work with who rely on these exemptions.  Here's a brief preview of our comment.

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