Re:Create Recap – February 8, 2018

Ad Bowl Fallout Continues For Chrysler. Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad for a pickup truck has already been criticized for using a speech from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, but things took a turn for the worse when Current Affairs magazine created a critique video. After using audio from the same exact speech where King explicitly criticizes car ads, the media outlet’s video was taken offline for copyright infringement. The video critique was reinstated after others reposted the link and successfully argued that it was covered by fair use. “Fortunately, fair use offers a counter-balance for the public interest,” wrote EFF’s Daniel Nazer. “This is why we can watch Chrysler’s commercial combined with King’s real feelings about car ads. Fair use won the day this time.”

Farmers Fight Monopoly On Repair. Farmers and their fight with John Deere to be able to repair their own tractors have helped showcase the need for exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). A new documentary by Motherboard, “Tractor Hacking: The Farmers Breaking Big Tech’s Repair Monopoly,” talks with Nebraska farmers about the challenges of software enabled farm equipment. As one farmer states, “What they have developed is essentially a monopoly on repair.” The documentary was released as the Library of Congress embarks on DMCA Section 1201’s triennial review.

Romancing The Gig Economy. In a column for The Conversation, University of Colorado Assistant Professor of Journalism Chris Larson examined why romance writers are faring better than their peers with digital sales. Larson attributed romance writers’ success to the sharing of competitive information and openness to newcomers. She points to the benefits of the creation of the professional association Romance Writers of America, which has a lower barrier to entry for members compared to other professional associations. “These barriers to entry can stultify and stagnate industries, especially with today’s transitions,” wrote Larson.

Lawyers Take On Important Work Of Freeing Old Songs To The Public Domain. Following a settlement last month to bring “We Shall Overcome” into the public domain, Bill Donahue with Law360 takes a look at the recent track record of law firm Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP. As the firm that also successfully fought to bring the “Happy Birthday to You” song into the public domain in 2015, it is “quietly becoming the go-to team for invalidating questionable copyrights.” One of the firm’s attorneys, Mark Rifkin, who worked on the “Happy Birthday” case told Law360, “Please don’t call us the caped crusaders of copyright…But somebody has to hold owners accountable for misuse of a copyright like we saw in these cases.” Next up in the firm’s fight on behalf of the public domain: a case challenging the copyright to “This Land Is Your Land.”

Mark Your Calendars For Fair Use Week. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announced that its annual Fair Use Week will take place February 26 – March 2. The week celebrates the importance of fair use in America’s legal framework — promoting progress, enabling free speech and expression, and supporting balanced copyright. Interested in learning more? Check out ARL’s toolkit for how advocates and organizations can participate and Re:Create’s fair use infographic series.