Re:Create Recap – August 10, 2017

Making The Case For Including Fair Use In NAFTA. In an August 6 article, TorrentFreak interviewed Re:Create Coalition Executive Director Joshua Lamel about the coalition’s strong position for including copyright limitations and exceptions in NAFTA negotiations. Lamel stated: “The United States government should promote balance in copyright law to unlock the fullest potential of innovation and creativity globally, and to help U.S. innovators, creators, and small businesses reach foreign audiences.” A functioning copyright system is crucial to the strength of the U.S. economy. Lamel explained that 18 million Americans are employed by fair use-based industries, which represent 16 percent of the nation’s economy. Lamel concluded: “Trade agreements should reflect the realities of the world we live in today. If strong intellectual property protections and enforcement measures are included in a trade agreement, so should exceptions and limitations to copyright law.”

When Copyright Overreach Becomes Monkey Business. Can animals own U.S. copyrights? A years-long copyright case addressing this issue settled out of court this week, reported Ars Technica’s David Kravets, leaving the question still unresolved. The case against a photographer and publishing company was brought on by PETA on behalf of Naruto, a macaque monkey, who a took an iconic selfie in 2011. Both parties did not disclose details about the settlement. Based on the 2016 federal court ruling against Naruto, Kravets asserted that this appeal “may have been about nothing more than monkey business all along.”

Will Robots Be Able To Copyright Their Own Works? Forbes’ Kalev Leetaru wrote an August 2 article that asks the question: “As AI systems of the future are able to create new works, who owns what they create and could AI systems be granted the right to profit from their own work?” Although today’s AI systems and algorithms are largely dependent on human input, Leetaru explores the possibility of AI systems not needing human oversight at all raising the question over if their works would be considered to be owned by the companies producing the computers, or would these computers be considered employees producing their own works? As we head to a more automated future, the legality is yet to be determined and “the questions of copyright, ownerships and control loom large.”

Analysis: Mapping America’s Music Preferences. Over the years, YouTube has shaped and influenced the music industry while also helping artists like Justin Bieber and The Weeknd become overnight superstars and achieve worldwide fame. An August 7 New York Times report mapped out 50 of the most-watched artists on YouTube and, using its geocoded streaming data, analyzed where the artists get the most streams from by location.

Op-Ed: Nothing To Fear About Fair Use.
Sean Flynn, a researcher and lecturer at American University Washington College of Law, pushed back against the entertainment industry’s claims that musicians and artists alike do not receive royalties for their work. In an August 4 op-ed in Business Day, Flynn notes that the test for fair use is “whether the use substitutes for the work in the market.” If the use causes market harm to the rights owner, then the use cannot be fair. But, “other uses, such as quoting a book or song to make a point,” is not harmful to the market. Flynn argues that the primary benefit of fair use allows users to innovate and recreate past works that may have not been done before. As a result of studying fair use and its impact on the economy, Flynn concluded that “high technology industries do much better in countries with fair use or other open copyright exceptions that can enable their work – and that entertainment and publishing industries do better too.”