Re:Create Recap – August 3, 2017

NAFTA Negotiations Must Include Copyright Exceptions For Libraries To Function. In a July 29 blog post, the American Library Association’s Carrie Russell wrote about the importance of including copyright law exceptions, such as fair use, in NAFTA re-write negotiations. Russell wrote: “Our message hasn’t changed—Congress put exceptions in the copyright law for a reason, so trade negotiators, don’t mess around with our copyright law, even when interested parties urge you do so.” Emphasizing the drastic impact trade treaties can have on copyright law, Russell explained that without the inclusion of the U.S. copyright law’s “exhaustion” exception, NAFTA would prohibit librarians from lending books.

DMCA Exemption Allows Hackers To Test Security Vulnerabilities In Voting Machines.
Last week at the annual DefCon Conference in Las Vegas, computer scientists and hackers tested the vulnerabilities in voting machines, finding holes in the security system within an hour and a half, reported USA Today. What allowed these hackers to circumvent the copyrighted software? An exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) ordered by the Librarian of Congress in October 2015. The exemption permits “good faith efforts” to research vulnerabilities that can help strengthen national security.

Blurred Lines And Copyright Law.
A July 19 blog post by Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute revealed that recording artists are now being advised to avoid publicly discussing their musical influences “for fear of exposure to copyright infringement claims.” This comes as a result of a 2015 verdict where the song “Blurred Lines” by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke was found to have infringed upon Marvin Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up.” The Gaye family won $5.3 million in damages and half of the royalties from “Blurred Lines.” The case was allowed to go to jury trial based on Williams’ admission that he was inspired by Gaye’s song. Lindsey points out that the case “demonstrates how copyright’s expansive coverage of ‘derivative works’ is antithetical to the stated purposes of the law.”

Can 3-D Bioprinting Solve The World’s Organ Shortage? A July 30 article in The Guardian by Tim Lewis examines the promise and concerns with 3D printer advances and the practice of bioprinting to help solve the global organ shortage. Erik Gatenholm and Hector Martinez developed the world’s first bioink, made from a material extracted in part from seaweed. But the two acknowledge some ethical concerns with creating and even recreating human organs. The concerns “range from fears over the quality and efficacy of artificial skin and implants to the accusation that bioprinting will allow humans to ‘play God.’” But researchers at the University of Edinburgh downplay these concerns saying “…there are already lots of technologies that allow human beings to play God, such as genetics.” The researchers maintain that bioprinting merely creates small body parts used only for medical applications.