Policy/Legal

New Media Rights files comments in Copyright Office inquiry into remedies for small copyright claims

On October 27, 2011, the Copyright Office released a Notice of Inquiry soliciting commentary on how copyright holders and defendants address small copyright claims within the current legal system, the drawbacks and benefits of the current system, and potential alternative methods for handling such claims. The Copyright Office was primarily concerned that the high cost of federal copyright litigation (as much as $350,000 for claims under $1 million)  may be dissuading copyright holders from filing lawsuits where damages are relatively low, because the potential award will not justify the expense of the litigation. Unlike many other varieties of small claims, state small claims courts are not available as a venue for resolving disputes over small copyright claims, because federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over copyright claims.  The Copyright Office suggested a number of potential solutions including creating a federal small claims court and allowing state small claims courts to hear copyright disputes.

In our January 17, 2012 comment, New Media Rights identifies a key frustration afflicting small-scale defendants, the “settling culture” that has emerged within the current system whereby defendants are intimidated into paying settlements and accepting DMCA takedown requests rather than risk the high costs of federal litigation. Copyright holders exploit the high cost of federal litigation to extract unwarranted settlements from small-scale defendants and impose improper DMCA takedowns. We tell that story with real life examples.

How mobile apps track and share your location and other personal information

You are being tracked. The tracking device is your smartphone. And the tracker? Apple and Google. And your cellphone carrier. And software companies. And countless other third parties. And shopping malls. Oh, and also potentially law enforcement agencies.

Just what, exactly, are these groups tracking? And why? Read on to find out.

Stop the Stop Online Piracy Act

Congress is once again considering passing new laws regulating piracy on the Internet. The House of Representatives is currently considering passing the Stop Online Piracy Act. But many oppose the Act—and you should too. If it becomes law, as one Congresswoman exclaimed, it “would mean the end of the internet as we know it.” Similarly, Internet companies like Google and Facebook also openly oppose it. The Act even prompted online protests by Tumblr, Reddit and Firefox. Why do so many oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act, and why should you be concerned? Read our coverage to find out.

Is the gatekeeper model of information access the new normal?

On the surface, gatekeepers can look like new services enabling communication with the world around us. However, gatekeepers like Apple or Youtube, whether acting deliberately, recklessly, arbitrarily, or incompetently, can pose significant hurdles to independent creators. 

The FCC's Net Neutrality Rules: A tale of two internets

Support Net Neutrality - shared under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

The FCC's rules regulating Network Neutrality split the Internet. No more is it the Internet, singular; it’s the Internets, plural. Or more precisely, it’s the two Internets: The wired and the wireless. And the new rules leave the latter virtually unprotected. With the rules soon to come into affect this fall, and public interest and industry groups aligning for lawsuits, here's what the fight is all about.

Patent reform moves in the right direction but there are still barriers for small inventors

Patent Reform - Image of Patent from 1927

President Barack Obama recently signed a patent reform bill as part of his job stimulus plan. The law attempts to remedy a wide range of problems preventing entrepreneurs from inventing and creating new jobs. We discuss these changes as well as a few of the new issues these changes may create.

New Media Rights files Reply Comments in the AT&T - T-mobile merger review at the California Public Utiltities Commission

AT&T T-mobile merger

New Media Rights and its affiliates Utility Consumers' Action Network and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse filed Reply Comments to the California Public Utilities Commission investigation into the AT&T - T-mobile merger.  After attending the innovation and consumer workshops, and reading a mountain of additional paperwork, we're more convinced than ever that the CPUC should recommend denial of the merger.

We talk about specific reasons why in our comments, and also suggest that in the event the Commission does choose to recommend to the FCC to approve with the merger, some significant conditions should be placed in California.

New Media Rights protects another blogger from censorship and DMCA abuse

New Media Rights recently protected blogger Michael Petrelis' speech and commentary regarding another blogger who pretended to be a gay Syrian woman living in Damascus. 

Mr. Petrelis is just one example of the hundreds of individuals who rely on New Media Rights daily.  His story reminds us that we have the right to criticize and comment on the culture that surrounds us.

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