Re:Create Recap – July 28, 2015

Re:Create Executive Director Interviewed On Sirius XM POTUS. Josh Lamel, Executive Director of the Re:Create Coalition, spoke on Sirius XM POTUS’ Morning Briefing on Monday to talk about the use of popular music at campaigns. Lamel explained that Trump’s use of songs at the Republican National Convention was likely covered by a comprehensive music license for a public performance and that the artists received payment.

Cybersecurity Researchers Sue U.S. Government For Using Copyright Law To Chill Free Speech. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing the U.S. government on behalf of two engineers, arguing Section 1201 of the DMCA is unconstitutional because it denies free speech. Section 1201 makes it a federal crime to tinker with or change copyrighted software, but the broad language has been used in the past to prohibit cell phone unlocking, electronics access to the deaf and blind, cybersecurity research and more. CNET reports on July 22 that the suit claims the law has had a “chilling effect” on security research. “The creative process requires building on what has come before, and the First Amendment preserves our right to… research and talk about the computer code that controls so much of our world,” said EFF’s Kit Walsh. “Section 1201 threatens ordinary people with financial ruin or even a prison sentence for exercising those freedoms…”

Cheerleader Copyright Case Could Have Major Implications For 3D Printing. The U.S Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands case over copyrights to cheerleading uniforms, but Techdirt’s Mike Masnick argues this case is about a lot more than cheerleaders in a July 26 article. Pointing to an amicus brief from Public Knowledge, Shapeways and other organizations, he notes how copyrights on “useful articles” could have a “massive chilling effect” on 3D printed objects, such as jewelry, shower heads and even prosthetic hands. The filing notes that there are 11.7 million “consumer-innovators” in the U.S. who have spent billions creating objects themselves.

The Right Role For The Copyright Office? Raza Panjwani with Public Knowledge questions the Copyright Office and the role it should play in music licensing in his blog post, Not the Agency You’re Looking For: The Copyright Office’s Misguided Antitrust Adventure. He explains how the Copyright Office has improperly interjected itself into a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation on music licensing, writing in part: “[I]t is remarkable for [the Copyright Office] to reach into unfamiliar areas of law, ignore basic public policy concerns in that area of law, and offer its own unqualified judgment on matters properly within the jurisdiction of another agency.”

Continued Copyright Confusion On The Campaign Trail.
In last week’s recap, we discussed how the use of Queen’s hit song “We are the Champions” at the Republican National Convention was likely legal. This week, John Oliver, the host of HBO’s comedy-news program “Last Week Tonight,” made a music video parody starring musicians who claimed the use of their songs by politicians is “stealing.” In John Oliver’s Story On Campaign Music And Copyright Is… Wrong, Mike Masnick with Techdirt writes that these assertions are “flat out wrong in most situations… [I]n nearly all cases, politicians using music at an event have the proper licenses. They don’t need to get permission from the musicians so long as either the campaign or the venue have [the proper] licenses, which they almost always do.”

Can Taxpayer-Funded Government Works Be Copyrighted?
Earlier this month, President Obama published a paper on the Affordable Care Act in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which the publication claimed a copyright on. In The copyright question behind Obama’s recent publication in a medical journal, The Daily Dot’s Cynthia McKelvey reports on the questions raised by Michael Eisen, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley and co-founder of an open access academic journal, about JAMA’s copyright claim and other government-funded papers published in academic journals. “Eisen noted something many have pointed out over the years: Work done or funded by governmental agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health, are too often kept from the public eye because they exist behind the paywalls of academic journals,” according to the article.