Re:Create Recap – July 7, 2016

Without DMCA’s Safe Harbor Provisions, New Platforms Wouldn’t Exist. Re:Create Coalition Executive Director Josh Lamel penned an op-ed in Engadget, Let’s Fight to Protect the Democratization of Creativity, on Section 512 and the recent roundtables held by the U.S. Copyright Office. In the piece he argues proposed changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) could impose irrevocable harm: “Without [Section 512’s] safe harbors, fear of liability would lead online service providers to censor material and/or be forced to create hugely expensive monitoring and filtering systems. Those kinds of burdens would mean many new services and platforms would never get off the ground.”

Column: YouTube Is Crucial For Musicians.
The Guardian columnist Eamonn Forde warns record companies and musicians against attacking YouTube, noting “[the] music industry needs YouTube much more than YouTube needs the music industry…” The column, Rock stars go to war with YouTube at their peril, explains how YouTube is a vital component of recording artists’ marketing strategy, allowing artists to target audiences, build a fanbase, and debut music videos, which would be “calamitous” if lost.

The Documentary That Started It All: “Happy Birthday” Song Enters Public Domain. Last week a federal judge granted a settlement in the “Happy Birthday to You” copyright lawsuit and affirmed the song’s status in the public domain. Just as the judge handed down this decision, the filmmaker who first started the lawsuit released a 15-minute documentary on her campaign to release the song to the masses. Re:Create commented on the case when a federal judge ruled in September that royalties collected for the song were invalid stating, “Re:Create welcomes the decision, which underscores the need for clear and transparent copyright laws to enable all forms of creativity.”

International Treaty To Dismantle Copyright Barriers, Improve Book Access For Blind And Print-Disabled.
After nearly a decade of negotiating, the Marrakesh Treaty is in the final stages of implementation and couldn’t come a moment sooner for those who are blind and print-disabled. As explained by TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey, the Marrakesh Treaty is a proposed set of rules designed by the World Intellectual Property Organization that would create exceptions to copyright laws, allowing the reproduction of works in accessible formats like Braille, audio or e-book, and easing restrictions on passing those works between countries. When President Obama sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification, Re:Create called for ratification stating, “We applaud the Obama Administration and its leadership in ensuring copyrighted works are made available to people with disabilities, and we encourage the Senate to ratify this treaty.”

Supreme Court Decision May Be Huge Boon For Future Fair Use Lawsuits.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley was not just a victory for the “first sale” doctrine of copyright law, but also a victory for fair use and limitations to copyright, writes Jonathan Band at the Project DisCo blog on June 24. Justice Kagan’s opinion notes that statutes must “[strike] a balance between two subsidiary aims: encouraging and rewarding authors’ creations while enabling others to build on that work.” Band writes, “[T]he Supreme Court’s Kirtsaeng decision provides an important reminder of copyright law’s public interest objectives and how necessary exceptions are to achieving them.”