Re:Create Recap – December 15, 2016

Goodlatte And Conyers Unveil Proposal For Copyright Office Reform. Last week, U.S. Representatives Bob Goodlatte and John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee released their proposed reforms to update the Copyright Office. The Re:Create Coalition released a statement expressing “some concern” over the proposal but agreeing “that the U.S. Copyright Office needs to be modernized to keep pace with the digital age, and this long-awaited legislation could help achieve that goal.” Techdirt’s Mike Masnick highlighted the “many, many pitfalls of these suggestions” in his post, It Begins: Congress Proposes First Stages Of Copyright Reform, And It’s Not Good, and a group of 40 university librarians issued a letter to House and Senate Judiciary leaders on December 14, asking them to keep the Copyright Office a part of the Library of Congress.

With New Deals, SoundCloud Promotes Creativity. On December 13, SoundCloud revealed it has reached a deal with licensing groups that will allow DJs to use songs in new, creative remixes without the threat of false copyright claims, according to the BBC. SoundCloud user and DJ Calvin NGO believes the deal is a step in the right direction for more creativity stating, “I know some DJs are hesitant to post mixes because they’re afraid they might be taken down, resulting in their whole account being removed. But now with the new deal they’ll be able to post with more confidence.”

Re:Create Coalition: IPEC’s Joint Strategic Plan Recognizes The Important Role Of Fair Use And A Balanced Copyright System. In response to the release of the FY 2017–2019 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, the Re:Create Coalition issued a statement commending the report’s acknowledgement of the important role of fair use and a balanced copyright system, and noted the plan “rightfully proposes that attempts to prevent infringement should not restrict lawful uses of content.”

Coalition Members Join Together To Protect Internet Subscribers From Music Industry. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kerry Sheehan outlined why the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit should reverse a lower court opinion on the BMG v. Cox Communications case in The Music Industry Shouldn’t Be Able To Cut Off Your Internet Access. The lower court ruled ISPs should terminate a subscriber’s internet access whenever rights holders allege that a person has repeatedly violated copyright law. However, Sheehan raised concerns that this will lead to widespread monitoring and filtering, affecting smaller sites and ISPs writing, “This is especially worrisome in light of the frequency of false or erroneous allegations of infringement.”

How Fair Use Impacts Free Speech. In Fair Use Is Essential to a Free Press, Elliot Harmon with the Electronic Frontier Foundation explained how an increase in copyright regulations would destroy a “free press.” “Fair use is one of the safety valves in copyright law intended to protect First Amendment rights. Today, journalism is more crucial to public life than it’s ever been. The press can’t afford to weaken one of its most important tools,” wrote Harmon. He was responding to the News Media Alliance’s white paper to Trump’s transition team, asking for “strong copyright protection” that will “[allow] for a return on [the news media industry’s] massive investment,” claiming that aggregators steal newspapers’ profits.