#CopyrightWeek 2017: Let's build a better copyright system for creators and the public

We respond to over 500 requests for legal services every year, and over two thirds of these relate to copyright law.  Copyright law protects the work of creators, but it also controls how the culture around us can be reused and commented upon. This week a community of awesome organizations are offering our visions of a balanced copyright future.  

You can check out all the posts over at this website.

Each day there will be posts on a specific theme.  Since much of what we do day in and out is copyright law, we're going to link you to some of our best resources, new and old, on copyright law for the given topics.

For a general background, why not check out our Copyright law FAQ with all the most commonly asked questions about copyright law? The FAQ ncludes many of our 25+ Copyright FAQ Video series, which you can view in its entirety by clicking here!

Also, don't miss our new book, Don't Panic, which covers all sorts of copyright issues you may want to know about, from music and open source software licensing, to fair use, to the DMCA safe harbor provisions. Enter the code "EHCBPZHD" at this special link for $3 (20%) off our new book.

And remember... our work to keep copyright law balanced, and provide direct legal services to over 500 creators and internet users each year, is supported by individuals like you, so consider supporting us today. 

Monday, Jan. 16 (Martin Luther King Jr. day): Building and Defending the Public Domain

The public domain is our cultural commons and a crucial resource for innovation and access to knowledge. Copyright policy should strive to promote, and not diminish, a robust, accessible public domain.

Our links to the public domain

Tuesday, Jan. 17: You Bought It, You Own It, You Fix It

Copyright law shouldn't interfere with your freedom to truly own your stuff: to repair it, tinker with it, recycle it, use it on any device, lend it, and then give it away (or re-sell it) when you're done.

What New Media Rights is doing

New Media Rights has argued for your right to install the software you choose on your smartphone and tablet for nearly a decade.  In the last DMCA Anti-circumvention proceedings, we helped provide support for expanding important exemptions to install whatever software you choose on tablets.  While we achieved expanded exemptions, the section 1201 process of exempting particular circumvention is broken. We have a brand new article just published in Tulane's IP & Tech Law Journal that discusses how to fix section 1201 at both the regulatory and legislative level. At its essence, the reforms acknowledge that any fair use should simply be exempted from the anti-circumvention laws.


Wednesday, Jan. 18: Transparency and Representation

Copyright policy must be set through a participatory, democratic, and transparent process. It should not be decided through back room deals, secret international agreements, or unilateral attempts to apply national laws extraterritorially.

What New Media Rights is doing

We fought back with many others on the internet against SOPA, PIPPA, and other laws intended to extend the most restrictive of our copyright laws to other parts of the world, without important safeguards like fair use. More recently, the TPP represents another attempt to take the worst copyright policies and extend them without safeguards. We opposed fast-track authority for the TPP, and demanded TPP officials to include safeguards for users.

Thursday, Jan. 19: 21st Century Creators

Copyright law should account for the interests of all creators, not just those backed by traditional copyright industries. YouTube creators, remixers, fan artists and independent musicians (among others) are all part of the community of creators that encourage cultural progress and innovation.  

What New Media Rights is doing

  • Providing legal services to over 500 individuals, nonprofits, and businesses every year on complex copyright issues every year.
  • We built and maintain an interactive app that helps video creators to understand when they can reuse music, photo, or film clips from other sources. The Fair Use App is an interactive way to learn about copyright, fair use, licensing, Creative Commons, and the public domain.
  • We offer hundreds of educational guides about copyright written directly for creators in the guides section of our website.  
  • We offer 150+ educational videos on our Youtube channels, including a popular FAQ about copyright. Here's a link to our video playlists.
  • We are also proposing extensive legislative fixes to problematic pieces of the DMCA Section 512 safe harbor. In addition to comments directly to the Copyright Office, we've written an article outlining our proposed reforms that will be published in the American Intellectual Property Law Association Law Journal's May 2017 edition.


Friday, Jan. 20 (Inauguration Day): Copyright and Free Speech

Freedom of expression is fundamental to our democratic system. Copyright law should promote, not restrict or suppress free speech.

What New Media Rights is doing

  • We've defended hundreds of individuals who have faced unreasonable overreach from individuals and companies misusing copyright law.  Have you read the stories of our defenses of remix creators (here and here are examples) and Philadelphia area kids attacked for making a fair use video?  
  • In the last year, New Media Rights has seen a drastic influx of filmmakers and nonprofits seeking legal advice related to their social impact films and online videos. New Media Rights is working to ensure those making social impact films have the legal services they need to bring their stories to the public with confidence in the face of intimidation from powerful interests. We’ve helped with important social impact films that address gender and racial discriminationenvironmental degradationpublic health issues, gun violence, and human trafficking, to name a few.
  • Since it's inauguration day, why not check out this video about why presidential speeches are in the public domain?

Happy Copyright Week!

Copyright Week image photo credit - EFF under a CC-BY 3.0 license

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