Policy/Legal

New Media Rights Joins the EFF and OTW in Latest Supplemental Filing on §1201 Anti-circumvention Exemptions

On June 11, 2018, New Media Rights joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Organization for Transformative Works in filing a response to questions that the Copyright Office posed after the §1201 Anti-Circumvention hearings in April.

The Copyright Office inquired as to whether screen capture is an alternative to circumvention for educational uses of short film clips outside of the context of film studies courses. Our joint response reinforces our position that screen capture is not a sufficient alternative to circumvention for fair use of short clips of video.

New Media Rights Testifies at the Copyright Office Hearings on § 1201 Anti-circumvention Exemptions

On April 24, New Media Rights joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Organization for Transformative Works to testify in support of a streamlined class 1 video exemption to the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA (17 USC § 1201).

Section 1201 outlines the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions that make it illegal to bypass technological protection measures (TPMs) (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM)) that restrict access to copyrighted content. However, if the reason for breaking encryption on the content falls under an exemption to the statute, then the circumventor is relieved of liability for breaking the encryption.

New Media Rights urges California legislators to enact state-based net neutrality protections

New Media Rights has advocated for net neutrality for nearly a decade through comments (our most recent comments defending net neutrality were submitted last summer) and our work with the Consumer Advisory Committee at the Federal Communications Commission. While the FCC repealed net neutrality protections in December, the fight to preserve a free and open internet does not end with the federal government. A number of states have recently introduced legislation to ensure that net neutrality protections survive, and in California, it has taken the form of a handful of bills that would offer comprehensive protection.

Today, New Media Rights sent a letter to senators Ben Hueso and Mike Morrell, the chair and vice-chair of the California Senate Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Communications urging them to support SB 822.

Things you can do to be #PrivacyAware on Data Privacy Day 2018

safeguarding consumer data

New Media Rights has joined the National Cyber Security Alliance for the fourth year in a row in its international effort to support privacy awareness: Data Privacy Day. Each January 28th, hundreds of organizations and individuals collaborate to generate awareness about the importance of respecting privacy and safeguarding data.
 
For our part during the year, each year we respond to 500+ requests for legal services. Many of those assistance requests relate to either helping consumers deal with potential privacy violations or helping businesses/non-profits/creators understand and avoid violating user privacy in their projects.
 
Since Data Privacy Day is this Sunday, it's a time to bring focus our efforts to both prevent privacy violations before they happen as well as provide clarity and next steps to those who have suffered violations. 
 
We've found many privacy-related legal issues can be avoided if the projects responsible for the violations -- the startup companies, app developers, and nonprofits who are collecting, tracking, and publishing user data -- start with a well-thought out game plan before collecting any data.
 
That said, formulating that game plan is expensive because it requires (a) access to expert knowledge that only a few attorneys are trained to provide and (b) a large time commitment from those attorneys who have to interface with the technical developers, managers, and key-decisions makers related to the project. READ MORE
 

New Media Rights Joins The EFF And OTW In Petition For An Improved Video Excerpt 1201 Exemption

New Media Rights recently filed a petition with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Organization for Transformative Works to the Copyright Office requesting that the office provide better protection for the right of educators, libraries, filmmakers, remix artists, and others to use video excerpts under fair use through Section 1201 exemptions. Section 1201 outlines the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions that make it illegal to bypass technological protection measures (TPM) (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM)) that restrict access to copyrighted content, unless specifically exempted through this rulemaking which takes place every three years. The strangest part about the anti-circumvention laws is that you may be making a fair use of material, but if you've circumvented, you could still be violating federal law. 1201 is broken, and we're working to fix it.

New Media Rights files comments urging the FCC to protect the Open Internet by maintaining Title II regulation.

The 2015 Open Internet Rules preserved the internet as we know it at a time when Internet Access Providers were trying to change the internet forever for their own narrow profit motives. The rules ensured that the Federal Communication Commission could play a constructive role in ensuring competition, of ideas, products, and services

Recently, the FCC has done an about face, and now proposes an end to these successful net neutrality protections. This would be disastrous, so we recently submitted comments to the FCC addressing why the Open Internet Rules should remain and also highlighting the dangers of the proposed changes.

New Media Rights asks for legislative reform in comments to Copyright Office's DMCA Section 512 study

The DMCA Section 512 is a critical protection for internet-based services large and small against copyright claims based on user infringement. However, Section 512 creates an easy, out of court process to remove speech from the internet through its notice and takedown provisions. This process is frequently abused to remove otherwise legal content from the internet. We recently proposed legislative reforms that would address key problems with section 512, and shared our firsthand experiences with clients dealing with section 512.

New Media Rights joins filmmaker groups asking for copyright reform of Section 1201 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act

Following up on our recent comments requesting reform of section 1201 of the Copyright Act, last Friday April 1 NMR filed a reply comment with the International Documentary Association, Film Independent, Kartemquin Educational Films, and Indie Caucus. 

Section 1201 unecessarily restricts all kinds of otherwise legal reuses of content, including by filmmakers, consumers, and remix creators.  

This reply comment asks the Copyright Office to fix the ineffective section 1201 process, which does little to prevent actual copyright infringement. Our initial comment asks for a complete reform to section 1201 through legislative action. This is more focused on advising the Copyright Office of procedural changes it can make to section 1201’s rulemaking proceedings while we await legislative change.

New Media Rights seeks reform of section 1201 Anti-circumvention provisions in Copyright Office study

Before the end of 2015 the Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry and Request for Public Comment on Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Section 1201 outlines the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions that make it illegal to bypass any technological protection measure (TPM) (also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM)) that restricts access to copyrighted content. But simply put, it is a broken and flawed area of copyright law.

The Notice of Inquiry was intended to assess the operation of section 1201, along with the triennial (every three year) rulemaking process established under the DMCA to adopt exemptions to the prohibition against circumvention of TPM’s. Based on our long history of advocating for DMCA exemptions, New Media Rights (NMR) participated in this effort by filing a public comment on March 1, 2016. The comment addressed several questions laid out in the notice of inquiry, drawing directly from New Media Rights’s experiences from working with clients navigate 1201 on a regular basis.

USPTO/NTIA offer up practical steps to sow the seeds of copyright reform

Over two years ago when we submitted comments in the United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Telecommunications and Information Administration copyright reform proceedings and again in our roundtable testimony, we advised a cautious approach that avoided the collateral damage that can come with hasty reforms. The final report takes a cautious balanced approach and shows support for many of the points we emphasized including:

  • The importance of developing a flexible criterion to help judges and juries determine the amount of statutory damages awarded. Particularly criteria that: consider whether the defendant use was non-commercial, had reasonable fair use argument and the financial means of the infringer. With flexible standards Copyright Trolls are much less likely to be able to exploit small-scale defendants’ lack of sophistication and resources to extract inappropriate settlements from them. (see pg 75 of the report for some of our thoughts)
  • The need for more public education on matters of copyright law, including fair use, to promote creativity.
  • The creation of easy to read fair use best practices developed within specific creative communities by creators, lawyers and other practitioners working in that specific area to help creators make informed decisions about fair use.
  • Recognizing the importance of having a small claims copyright court to help independent creators resolve disputes that doesn’t sacrifice important copyright safeguards, like fair use, in the process.(see pg 78 of the report for some of our thoughts)

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