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Guide to Intellectual Property & Fiscal Sponsorship Agreements for scientific, research, and archival projects

Our newest guide is designed to help scientific, research, and archival projects understand Intellectual Property and other important considerations when entering a Fiscal Sponsorship relationship.  

Are you an individual, researcher, scientist, small laboratory, or archivist interested in collaborating with a larger non-profit? Then you may need a fiscal sponsorship agreement. A fiscal sponsorship is when a non-profit organization offers their legal and tax-exempt status to an unincorporated project engaged in activities related to the sponsor’s mission.  It typically involves a fee (or percentage of donations) paid by the project to the sponsor in exchange for the sponsor non-profit’s administrative support and any other activites agreed upon and documented in the fiscal sponsorship agreement.

When entering a fiscal sponsorship, most people are primarily concerned with receiving the benefits of a larger supporting organization and being able to accept tax deductible donations.  However, in the rush to get things going, individuals often forget to ask some very important questions and can end up signing away their rights to their research, equipment, and even the name of their project. 

This guide will help you understand and clarify ownership of intellectual property rights when entering a fiscal sponsorship agreement. It will also identify some of the key considerations when entering a fiscal sponsorship agreement as a small lab or research project. 

Help us reach our next 1000 clients!

We've provided free and nominal fee legal services in over 1000 matters since 2008! These 1000 matters include creative projects, free speech, nonprofit services, and job-creating business ideas that may die on the vine, or be the victim of improper censorship without these services. But we can't do it without your help!  We're asking for your donation now to ensure our services will be available to the next 1000 clients who need it.

Your donation will help ensure we have the resources to reach a wide variety of clients to provide critical legal services. Clients much like Anita Sarkeesian. Here is her story of how we helped her fight improper takedowns of her pop culture critiques.  

Broadband industry to American public: “Who needs open Internet rules when you can just take our word for it?”

Hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens recently asked the FCC to protect the open Internet, but broadband providers filed comments that are the hundreds of pages equivalent of “take our word for it, everything will be fine” or “move along, nothing to see here.” In preparing our reply comments to the FCC’s open Internet proceeding, we’ve been examining the most recent comments of the big fixed and mobile broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.

What we found could be striking or completely obvious, but is probably both at the same time. Broadband providers primarily occupy themselves with aggressive posturing and finger-pointing aimed at content providers like Netflix and backbone providers like Cogent and Level 3. The big industry players’ comments also make clear that the big broadband providers apparently do live in an alternate universe to most Americans.  In this universe, the vast majority of Americans can easily switch between an ample number of broadband providers on a whim, and where any real rules to protect the open Internet as we know it are unnecessary because… well, because… just take our word for it.

NMR files comments urging the FCC to protect the Open Internet

Today, New Media Rights joins hundreds of thousands of consumers, creators, and businesses in filing public comments about the future of Internet.  The Federal Communications Commission now has an opportunity to choose a communications future of innovation, creative exchange, and consumer choice, rather than one where powerful broadband Internet companies can alter the Internet to support entrenched business models.

Specifically we are urging the FCC to reclassify broadband internet access providers as common carriers subject to Title II of the Telecommunications Act, and to reconsider its recently proposed Net Neutrality rules. Preserving an Open Internet is one of the most important social, economic, and legal issues of the twenty first century. It is critical that the FCC have the authority to protect it, and then that the FCC actually uses its authority to enact and enforce rules that uphold the tenets of an Open Internet for years to come.

Read more here!

Executive Director Art Neill to speak on user-generated and "fan" content at Copyright Society of the USA's Annual Meeting

New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill will be speaking on a panel Monday June 8 regarding user-generated content and fan productions at the Copyright Society of the USA's 2014 Annual Meeting.

It's your turn to tell the FCC how to protect and promote the Open Internet

On Thursday, May 15, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a 4 month rulemaking asking for "public comment on how best to protect and promote an open Internet." For months, regulators, consumer advocates, and service providers have wrestled over what the next steps should be after a court decision that threw out the FCC's previous open internet rules, adopted in 2010.

Now its your turn to share your ideas with the FCC. How we can promote and protect the Internet as a vital resource for years to come?

New Media Rights joins Electronic Frontier Foundation in urging reconsideration of dangerous Garcia v Google copyright ruling

New Media Rights has joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and others in filing an Amicus Brief urging a federal appeals court to reconsider it's decision to order Google to take down the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video in Garcia v Google.

Most of our work at New Media Rights is preventative and transactional, focused on helping people avoid legal problems and lengthy court battles before they begin. In this case, however, we've joined in filing this Amicus Brief because the recent decision, if not reconsidered, will have negative consequences for free speech that will directly affect the creators and innovators we assist.

As it stands, the court's decision threatens to create sprawling, poorly defined copyright protection in a variety of creative contributors, altering the way that copyright law protects contributions to film and video productions.

New Media Rights helps shape FCC Consumer Advisory Committee recommendation on improving broadband access in U.S. schools and libraries

On Friday, March 28, the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee approved an important recommendation to modernize and improve the way we bring high-speed broadband to classrooms and libraries around the county.  New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill, and Legal Interns Marko Radisavljevic and Kyle Welch 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 an extensive review of the FCC’s E-rate program, including analyzing a vast amount of input on the program from a variety of stakeholders. Based on this research, New Media Rights’ staff and interns helped lead the efforts to draft a recommendation encouraging the FCC to modernize and improve the 18 year old E-rate program for the 21st century.  The recommendations include both general priorities as well as specific process priorities that will improve the E-rate program. 

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.

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.

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