Re:Create Recap – June 29, 2017

Study: Weakening Safe Harbor Protections Would Cost The U.S. Over 4 Million Jobs. A June 29 study found that weakening safe harbor protections would significantly reduce economic activity in the internet sector, resulting in the loss of over four million American jobs and $440 billion in GDP every 10 years. The study, released by the Internet Association, revealed that weakened safe harbor protections would stifle innovation for internet startups and burden consumers with higher costs, leaving them with a worsened online user experience. This comes on the heels of a study released earlier this month by the Computer & Communications Industry Association which found that industries that rely on fair use make up one-sixth of the economy and add $2.8 trillion in value to the economy.

Meet Riobamba: DJ, Producer & Cultural Promoter. Sara Skolnick, the artist behind Riobamba, is a popular Lithuanian-Ecuadorian DJ, performer and producer. Profiled in the Re:Create Coalition’s new creator series, Skolnick credits a significant portion of her success to the democratizing effects of the internet, which empowers musicians from around the world to easily share access to their music and fosters a connection with other artists for collaboration and re-creation. Inspired by the transnational digital sounds produced by this type of creative environment, Skolnick started her own record label and co-created Pico Picante, a monthly global music dance party that pairs traditional, folkloric music with an electronic beat. She also makes her own songs available on Soundcloud and Dropbox for other artists to build off of in their own creations.

Re:Create At VidCon. Last week, Re:Create Executive Director Joshua Lamel and Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Corynne McSherry participated on the VidCon panel “Your Rights as a Digital Creator“. The panel, moderated by Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth, discussed the DMCA, fair use, and notice-and-takedown, among other issues. When asked how many audience members have received a takedown notice or copyright strike, the overwhelming majority raised their hands. Lamel and McSherry both encouraged attendees to get involved in D.C. copyright policy discussions in order to stand up for fair use and protect free speech online.

Zillow Threatens To Sue Blogger For Copyright Infringement Over Content It Does Not Own. On June 26, The Verge reported that the real estate site Zillow sent a cease and desist letter to Kate Wagner, the creator of the online blog “McMansion Hell.” The blog uses photos from real estate sites and adds commentary to poke fun at the “mcmansions.” In each post, Wagner adds a disclaimer crediting the original source of the images and cites fair use for the parody. In the cease and desist letter, Zillow claims “Wagner’s reproduction of these images do not apply under the Copyright Act.” However according to The Verge in a follow-up story, Zillow does not even own the photos it is alleging copyright infringement over. Instead, the real estate photos are owned by realtors, brokerages, and listing services that then upload the content to Zillow.

U.S. Copyright Office Wants To Make ‘Right To Repair’ A Reality. In a June 22 report by the U.S. Copyright Office, it recommended that Congress pass legislation to make it legal for consumers to repair any products they purchase on their own. As Motherboard reported, certain manufacturers including John Deere and other electronic companies “have argued that it should be illegal to bypass the software locks that they put into their products…” The companies claim that doing so is in violation of copyright law. Currently, the Copyright Office grants exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act, but they are subject to a triennial review process. The report went on to say that copyright law was not written for the purposes of forcing customers to only use authorized repair services as prescribed by the manufacturer.