Re:Create Recap – June 22, 2017

New Video: Understanding Section 512 Of The DMCA. This week, the Re:Create Coalition debuted a new video illustrating the importance of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in protecting free speech online. The internet economy requires a delicate balance between protecting copyrighted content online and giving consumers and creators the freedom to legally access and add to existing materials. The video helps explain why protecting Section 512 from attack is crucial to maintaining this balance and to promoting online creativity and innovation.

TODAY: Re:Create At VidCon. Re:Create Executive Director Joshua Lamel will participate on the VidCon panel “Your Rights as a Digital Creator“, along with Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Corynne McSherry. The panel, presented by the Internet Creators Guild and moderated by Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth, will address an audience of online creators about their daily interactions with copyright and how it affects all of us. Topics covered during the discussion will include: fair use, the DMCA and notice-and-takedown. The panel will also provide an overview of high-profile copyright cases and encourage creators to get involved in D.C. copyright policy. Tune into next week’s Recap for more details about the panel.

Streaming Starboy: The Weeknd And Other Artists Cash In On The Streaming Economy.  Zack O’Malley Greenburg with Forbes reported on June 12 that “streaming is now the dominant platform for music consumption, and it’s growing rapidly–up 76% year-over-year, according to Nielsen.” Income for music artists directly earned from streaming services “surged to $387 million from $177 million.” Artists like the Weeknd and Chance the Rapper are notable success stories who’ve taken advantage of a global audience online. Chance the Rapper “has never sold a physical album or signed a record deal in his life”, instead he earned millions of dollars from streaming sites like Pandora and Spotify, concert tours, and endorsement deals. Similarly, the Weeknd got his start by distributing his music for free on YouTube. “In the old entertainment economy, he would have waited to be discovered by a record label. Instead, that fan base found him, and all those free streams enabled him to force record labels to bid on him,” concluded Greenburg.

U.S. Supreme Court Turns Away “Dancing Baby” Case. The United States Supreme Court declined to hear Stephanie Lenz v. Universal Music Corp this week, leaving in place a mixed September 2015 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, reported Reuters. The lawsuit, also known as the “Dancing Baby” case, originated in 2007 when Universal Music Group took down Lenz’s 29-second video of her 13-month-old son dancing to a Prince song, claiming copyright infringement. Later that year, Lenz sued Universal Music Group. According to Hollywood Reporter, the 2015 ruling concluded that copyright holders must consider fair use before sending takedown notices, but can send a notice if they believe the material does not constitute fair use.

In ‘Jersey Boys’ Case, Courts Side With Fair Use. On June 14, a Nevada federal judge found that the musical Jersey Boys, based on the 1960s pop group The Four Seasons, was fair use of copyrighted material. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the court ruled that the Broadway musical did not infringe on an unpublished autobiography of group member Tommy DeVito. Following the initial success of the musical, the family of Rex Woodard, who assisted DeVito in writing the autobiography, brought a lawsuit for a share in the musical profits. TechDirt reported that Judge Robert Jones’ ruling invoked the fourth factor of fair use, pointing out that the autobiography had no market value and that the plaintiffs “had been unable to find any company interested in publishing the work despite their various attempts to do so…” The court concluded that the “transformative nature” of the play was much more significant than the unpublished work of just one band member.