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. 

NMR joins USA Doing Archives' discussion of copyright and the law surrounding digital archive projects

Ever wondered how copyright and other laws affect the work that archivists do? Here at NMR we’ve helped our fair share of archivists; so we were happy to participate in Doing Archives first Hang out On Air at New England Archivists Spring 2014 meeting.  We joined Christopher Felker, creator of Doing Archives as well as Henrik Mondrup from Aalborg University Copenhagen and Heather Nodler a law student at Georgetown and former archivist for an informative discussion on the current state of archives and the law.  Missed the live hangout? No worries, you can find a recording of the entire thing above.

Also if you an archivist, academic or scholar; New Media Rights is here to help with your legal questions. For more information, check out our “Services We Provide Page” we made especially for you!

We’re off to SXSW!

Photo AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by alexdecarvalho

Thanks to your votes, New Media Rights is heading to SXSW interactive in Austin, Texas. On Tuesday March 11th at 12:30PM in the Driskill Hotel Ballroom we’ll be presenting our panel “Stand Up To Content Bullies, Know Your Copy Rights”.

At New Media Rights we know copyright laws are complicated, and they're often the reason why your videos, mobile apps, and other content may get taken down. "Fair use" is complicated, but it's often the reason you can get your content back up. Our panel will teach real-world best practices to use the law, YouTube's rules, and practical steps to fight back against content bullies.

Not only will we provide SXSW audiences with great best practices developed from our many years helping video creators but pop culture hacker Jonathan McIntosh will join us as our special guest creator.  Johnathan is a pop-culture hacker and remix artist that we helped get his video Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed put back up on YouTube after it was taken down by content bullies. McIntosh’s pro-feminist video is a metaphor for the ongoing battle between two opposing visions of gender roles in the 21st century. Over the past three years, this video has been used in law school programs, media studies courses and gender studies curricula across the world.  Who better to talk about standing up to content bullies than a highly skilled content creator who has stood up to content bullies and actually won!

If you’re at SXSW please come by to hear what should be an amazing panel (if you’re not at SXSW you can follow our session on twitter using #nmr).

The curious case of the YouTube Bots- updated 2-19-14

Photo AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Santos "Grim Santo" Gonzalez

UPDATE: 2-19-14

It could be entirely coincidental but on February 14th the official YouTube Creators blog had a post about bots inflation on YouTube. You can read the whole blog here. The blog certainly isn’t a complete response to our blog nor does it address the many complex layers of the Bots problem but it does recognize two important things.

First it recognizes the importance of likes and comments to the YouTube community and acknowledges that these “interactions both represent and inform how creators connect with their audience.” This was one of the biggest complaints we heard from creators. Not just that their videos were taken down but that they permanently lost the likes, insightful comments and best wishes from their fans. Even when creators reposted their videos they were unable to recover this part of their community.

Second, the blog may suggest that YouTube may focus on auditing view counts as opposed to taking videos down. The blog states that:

As part of our long-standing effort to keep YouTube authentic and full of meaningful interactions, we’ve begun periodically auditing the views a video has received. While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light. We don’t expect this approach to affect more than a minuscule fraction of videos on YouTube, but we believe it’s crucial to improving the accuracy of view counts and maintaining the trust of our fans and creators.

Although YouTube has been auditing views for some time now, there has been an inconsistent policy of removing some videos while simply auditing views of other videos. If YouTube’s new plan is to audit views instead of taking videos down; we support that plan. Almost every single creator who we talked to wanted a way to remove fraudulent views from their accounts. These creators are part of the YouTube community and believe in the importance of accurate view counts.  However, these creators don’t want to be punished when someone out of their control uses Bots on their account. By reducing view counts instead of taking down videos, the potential use of Bots attacks for censorship purposes greatly decreases, which was one of our biggest concerns.

That said if the recent blog doesn’t match reality we want to hear about it.  After all, it could be a complete coincidence that this blog was released shortly after our own blog. It is still entirely plausible that nothing is actually changing and YouTube intends to continue to ignore problematic Bots related takedowns. That said, if you video was wrongfully taken down for bots inflation AFTER February 14, 2014 we want to hear about it.

On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we look forward to ensure we get copyright right.

On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we recognize that copyright reform is badly needed for the digital age.  This reform need not, and should not, take the form of any radical evisceration of copyright. At the same time, reform should not be used as an opportunity to continue unreasonable expansion of copyright law without concern for the collateral damage it causes to artistic progress, freedom of speech, and the intellectual enrichment of the public.  Rather, much like one would tend to a garden, it is time we examine our current copyright law, remove the old weeds of law that no longer serve us, and plant the seeds of new law that will help to foster  a new generation of artists and creators. And above all, the removal of those weeds must be a transparent process where all voices are heard.

Celebrating Copyright Week with Films, Stories, and more!

This is the reaction we got from Radio KSCR's Jowanna Lewis at the New Media Expo when we told her about the services we provide to creators and internet users. We want to thank everyone who donated and helped NMR surpass our $5,000.00 end of year goal, especially our new Founders and Champions. Your support provides legal services that ensure the free exchange of ideas and creativity one case at a time and through open educational resources available to everyone.  We've gotten things rolling quickly this year.

Copyright Week
Monday January 13- Saturday January 18th New Media Rights will join the Electronic Frontier Foundation in celebrating Copyright Week. Copyright Week's goal is to raise awareness of the importance of copyright law in everyday life and put a spotlight critical challenges in the digital age. At New Media Rights we'll be using the week to spotlight some of the stories of individuals we've helped to help explain copyright law's complicated impact on the free exchange of ideas and creativity in the digital age. Stay tuned to newmediarights.org as well as our  Twitter and Facebook pages for updates on many copyright issues throughout the week.

The Public Domain shouldn't cost $165 an hour.

At New Media Rights we work to make the public domain more accessible. We feature guides to help you figure out when something falls into the public domain and we have a great guide that will help you find public domain and openly licensed works to use in your own creative works. We also have several YouTube videos that help answer commonly asked questions about the public domain.


At New Media Rights we think the public domain is something to be particularly concerned with since no new works will enter the public domain until 2019. That’s why the work New Media Rights does to bring awareness to the problems surrounding the public domain is so critical. Work like this blog post explaining how expensive it is to find out if some works are in the public domain.


If you have a question about the public domain you can contact us here. And if you’d like to support our work you can donate here. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.  You can also sign on to support Copyright Week’s 6 principles, including the importance of building a robust public domain, through the EFF here.

It's Copyright Week!

It’s copyright week! New Media Rights is joining with EFF and a host of other organizations to show why copyright law matters, and some of the challenges the law faces in the digital age.  Stay tuned to learn why copyright should matter to you and steps you can take to support copyright reform. You can vist the official copyright week page here.

 

 Each day this week we’ll be highlighting different principles critical to having balanced and effective copyright law, including Transparency, Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain, Open Access, You Bought It You Own It, Fair Use, and Getting Copyright Right.

 

The impact of California’s new Do Not Track law on innovators

California has been busy passing a multitude of new internet laws as we’ve outlined in a few previous blog posts.  The most recent law made us pause here at NMR because it directly affects the individuals we help everyday both in understanding and writing terms of use and privacy policies for internet users, creators, and tech startups.  Privacy policies are critical tools for website creators to protect themselves from liability and try to set consumer expectations for privacy on their website.

Under A.B. 370, all commercial websites that collect personally identifiable information are now required to disclose how they respond to “Do Not Track” (DNT) signals in their privacy policy.  Before we get into the practical application of this law, it’s important to understand what DNT is and what it isn’t.

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