Legal

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.

Top 5 mistakes startups make with their privacy policies

Privacy policies are a critical pre-launch step for many web based companies. But not all privacy policies are created equal. Here are the top five common mistakes we see startups make in their privacy policies.


5.    The company doesn't have a privacy policy.
Collecting information from your users without a privacy policy is remarkably risky. In some states it may even be illegal depending on the type of website you operate. For example in California, commercial websites that collect personally identifiable user information which includes information that is commonly collected by commercial websites like names, emails and addresses are required to have a privacy policy.  Even if you’re not in a state that requires your website to have a privacy policy, privacy policies are still helpful for setting consumer expectations regarding your use of their data.

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. 

Internet User's Guide to the Copyright Alert System "Six-strike" policy - FAQ

Just this week, a number of the major internet service providers in the United States, including AT&T, Verizon, and Time Warner, began implementing the "Copyright Alert System."

What is the Copyright Alert System?

The system is an anti-piracy approach where your Internet Service Provider allows content partners, typically large media companies (i.e. Motion Picture Association of America [MPAA] and the Recording Industry Association of America [RIAA] ) to police the ISP's networks for copyright infringement. This means they monitor Internet traffic, and when potential copyright infringement is identified, the copyright holder will send your IP address to the ISP and request that the ISP notify you. The ISP will engage in a series of escalating warnings and actions with internet subscribers intended to discourage digital "piracy."

Read our new FAQ to learn more about how the new system will affect you as an Internet user.

Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright law

Everything you ever wanted to know about copyright law but didn’t know to ask

Why should anyone care about copyright law? Even if the only creative work you’ve ever done is upload your profile picture to Facebook, surprise! Your life has been affected by copyright law.

If you’re an artist or journalist who has asked the questions, “How can I get people to see my work?” or “How can I make money off of my work?” it may be helpful to take a look at this guide.

If you’re just an average person who is afraid of getting in trouble for downloading the wrong file, or uploading the wrong video to YouTube, it might also be helpful.

If you’re starting a business and you’re trying to figure out some of the legal issues that may affect your website, marketing materials, and promotional videos and photos, checking out this guide would be a great idea.

What you’ll find below is a plain English summary of U.S. copyright law along with answers to frequently asked questions about the practical ways the law affects your creative work. It’s written in an easy-to read manner, so even people without any legal training won’t have trouble understanding it. That said, we’re always looking for ways to improve it, so if you have suggestions, definitely include them in your comments.

You can read this guide from start to finish like a book, or if you have specific issues, you can consult the table of contents and skip through to the most relevant topics.

Guide for defendants in mass copyright lawsuits (Bit Torrent Filesharing cases)

You may be a defendant, or may know a defendant involved in one of the “BitTorrent filesharing lawsuits.” These suits are also sometimes referred to as “Mass copyright lawsuits” because for the first time, hundreds and sometimes thousands of individuals like yourself have been implicated in lawsuits alleging “copyright infringement.” Indeed, as of September 2011, there are over 200,000 individuals involved in such lawsuits.

New Media Rights has drafted the guide below to provide you with basic, practical information regarding these lawsuits.
 

Video Games and the law: Copyright, Trademark and Intellectual Property

Planning on creating a video game, or created one already? Our latest guide helps you understand some the frequent questions about copyri"676 - Burning Pac-Man -- Seamless Texture" by Flickr user Patrick Hoesly used under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Creative Commons License ght, trademark and intellectual property when it comes to video games.

Learn how video games are protected under copyright and trademark law, how to respond when your game is removed from the web or an mobile app store by a DMCA takedown notice, and the many ways the law affects the creative process of making a video game.

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