Digital Rights Management (DRM)

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 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.

Our new book: Don't Panic :) A Legal Guide (in plain english) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals

Ever wonder what sorts of issues you may encounter as a creator or entrepreneur, and when you might want to reach out to a real life lawyer? That’s what our book "Don't Panic: A Legal Guide (in plain english) for Small Businesses and Creative Professionals" is all about. This book is designed to help you through the legal issues you may run into as a creator, entrepreneur, or innovator. We focus on issues you may encounter from the inception of your business to the moment (that hopefully doesn’t happen) you get a nasty lawyer letter for the first time. While this book is not a substitute for legal advice, it can serve as a helpful guide to preventing and resolving legal issues.

Event: Law 101 - The basics of Intellectual Property for Makers @ Fablab San Diego

Executive Director Art Neill & Advisory Board Member Kyle Welch,  a technology transfer attorney for San Diego State University (and a former NMR legal intern!) will discuss the basics of Intellectual Property at Fablab Wednesday June 29 at FabLab San Diego.  Come join us!

 

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.

NMR launches law school IP and entrepreneurship clinics list!

As we've written about before there's a major justice gap when it comes to creators and entrepreneurs having access to critical legal services. While we do our best to provide free and low cost legal services, we’re only one organization. That's why we’ve created a national list of law school legal clinics as a resource to creators, entrepreneurs and even other lawyers to help find other legal clinics fighting to fill the justice gap. The clinics on the list typically provide completely free or low cost services depending on if you qualify and they have the capacity to take on new issues. Check out the complete list here.

 

February Newsletter -- Getting results: FCC now considering proposal that would actually protect the Open Internet.

In this months newsletter:

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.  If adopted February 26, the proposal would give the FCC the legal authority it needs to preserve and protect the Open Internet. Executive Director Art Neill sat down with KPBS to discuss why the Federal Communication Commission's new Open Internet rules are necessary to ensure a free and open internet




For more on the Net Neutrality debate and what it means for you, check out our latest blog post on Net Neutrality here.

3D Printing and repairing products

Some companies have already expressed concern that 3D printing will allow consumers to repair so much of the product with at-home printed pieces, that the consumer is actually replacing the whole product for free. Unfortunately, the difference between making major repairs and reproducing the product is not clear-cut.

Patent: It is easy to imagine buying a product, scanning all its individual unpatented parts, and then using a 3D printer to print out any parts needed to repair a product at home. Not only would this be convenient for the consumer, but it would also prolong the life of the product.  Keep in mind though, that what is and what isn’t patented isn’t intuitive. Some parts that you might assume are not subject to patent protection may actually be patented.

However, many useful objects do have patent protection. Under patent law, the creator has the exclusive right to reproduce a product. However, the consumer is generally allowed to make repairs to their product but they are not allowed to recreate the patented object. The questions remains, “at what point does a single major repair or cumulative repairs equate to reproducing the product?” Unfortunately, the answer for the moment is unclear.

Copyright: If the product were copyrighted, reproducing it would be a copyright violation. However, making repairs to a copy you obtained lawfully is not. Let’s say a person purchased an art piece made of various colored sugar cubes that combined to create an image of a man’s face. Individually, the sugar cubes are not copyrighted. If a dog eats some, but not all of the sugar cubes, how many could be replaced before the owner has effectively reproduced the artist’s work without permission? The answer is unfortunately unclear.

Trademark: So long as consumers are never exposed to a reproduction of a trademark, a trademark can be copied. For example, if a person broke the lid on a standard thermos that has a Starbucks logo on it. They could replace the lid and the whole logo, so long as the lid is kept strictly for personal use.

If you have any other questions regarding 3D printing and the law please don’t hesitate to contact New Media Rights via our contact form.

New Media Rights submits comments to the Request for Comments on Department of Commerce Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy

On July 31, 2013 The United States Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office and National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy.  On September 30, 2013 they released a request for comments on that paper. All three offices were particularly interested in how copyright law could be reformed to better promote the growing digital economy.  The request for comments was incredibly broad and ranged from questions about the first sale doctrine as it relates to digital goods to the role of fair use in remix culture.

In our November 13, 2013 comment New Media Rights sought to address three of the most critical issues that affect the remixers, entrepreneurs, creators and internet users we work with every day. First, our comments addressed five key copyright law problems that need to be solved to help remix creators spend their time creating rather than fighting legal disputes including the current failure of 17 USC §512(f) to protect creators from content bullying. Second, we discourage the widespread implementation of intermediary licensing modeled off YouTube’s Content ID system because it is not, in fact, an intermediary licensing system. We also explain the implementation of such a system could be incredibly detrimental to users’ rights largely due to the lack of an effective appeals process and various design challenges in the system. Finally, we address the Department of Commerce’s question regarding how best to go about fashioning a multistakeholder process that would create a working set of best practices for the DMCA. We hope that our comments in these three areas will spark discussion and encourage badly needed copyright reform for the digital age. 

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