Re:Create Recap- January 10, 2019

Next Week: Copyright Week 2019. Electronic Frontier Foundation will host its annual Copyright Week from January 14 through 18 to mark the anniversary of the SOPA/PIPA internet blackout. Each day is dedicated to a different theme, including free speech, digital ownership, public domain, safe harbors and automated content filtering.

New York Times: “New Life For Old Classics, As Their Copyrights Run Out.” “Consumers and readers are definitely going to benefit from this,” an assistant professor of economics at Northeastern University told The New York Times in a profile on the impact of thousands of works entering the public domain in 2019. This includes the works of authors like Marcel Proust, Willa Cather, Agatha Christie, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling and Robert Frost. Now that these books are in the public domain, the public is able to read them for free, writers and film producers can create their own adaptations or sequels, and scholars can publish new annotated versions. The Times report notes how expiring copyright terms also present opportunities for publishers. For instance, Penguin Classics published an edition of “The Prophet” with a new introduction from Rupi Kaur, while F. Scott Fitzgerald’s publisher released a new edition last year in an attempt to position it as “the definitive version.”

Is The New Spider-Man Movie Actually A Form Of Fan Fiction? In an article for Comic Book Resources, Cynthia Vinney argued that the award-winning, blockbuster film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is actually a form of “sanctioned fan fiction,” making the case that more viewers should try the genre and stop marginalizing readers and writers. Vinney draws comparisons between fan fiction’s transformational nature and the fact that comic book characters like Spider-Man are continually rebooted into new films and TV shows, building on them and creating something new each time. She concluded: “By putting new spins on known properties, the Hollywood machine is capitalizing on the same desires and interests that drive fan fiction readers and writers. As a result, our most popular entertainment has become sanctioned fan fiction.”

Supreme Court Hears Case On Copyright Registration Timing. On January 8, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on whether copyright owners can file a lawsuit after filing a copyright registration or if they have to wait until the application is fully processed. The case was brought by Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp., which is fighting for authors to be able to sue when they file an application, an argument supported by the Motion Picture Association of America in an amicus brief. Law360 reported there was skepticism among the justices that authors should be allowed to sue immediately after applying for a registration. Justice Stephen Breyer asked, “Do you drive without a driver’s license when yours has expired because you wrote in to the registry of motor vehicles but they haven’t yet licensed you?”’