Re:Create Recap – June 8, 2017

Op-Ed: Why We Need Fair Use Online. Art Neill, executive director of New Media Rights, penned an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times in defense of fair use, which he called “copyright law’s safety valve, protecting our ability to make social, political and cultural commentary and criticism.” Neill noted that anyone who creates content, including video game reviewers and journalists, rely on fair use in their work. From VCRs to search engines, new technologies also depend on fair use. “Fair use is inextricably linked to our 1st Amendment right to free speech. We are careful with fair use because it’s the primary way consumers, creators and innovators share new ideas. It’s a good thing, and it is worth protecting,” Neill concluded.

Tune In Friday As CCIA Releases Its Fair Use In The U.S. Economy: 2017 Report. On Friday, June 9, CCIA will host Rep. Jared Polis (D-Co.) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), for an online discussion on the latest installment of their economic survey on the impact of copyright balance on the national economy. For event details click here.

Warner Bros. Gives Its Blessing To Harry Potter Fan Film. Polygon reported on May 31 that a Harry Potter fan film received approval to move forward from the Warner Bros. film studio. Once completed, the fan film will be released for free and not-for-profit on YouTube. The Warner Bros. decision to permit the Harry Potter fan production stands in stark contrast with CBS/Paramount who went to court over a Star Trek fan film, claiming copyright over costumes, characters and even the Klingon language. The decision has since been settled, but CBS/Paramount has strict guidelines for future fan projects: films can be no longer than 15 minutes, cannot include the name “Star Trek”, cannot include official costumes, and cannot be made for profit.

Maine Lawmakers Want To Protect Themselves From…Their Own Words. The Associated Press reported that the Maine State House Facilities Committee is looking into whether legislators can add a copyright to audio recordings of public hearings, out of increasing concern with political groups taking lawmakers’ words out of context and using it against them. Legislators from both parties have acknowledged these audio recordings have been used to criticize fellow members, but some have expressed concern about deleting them entirely from public record. The debate has been met with criticism from media companies and public records advocates saying that copyright laws “should not be used to protect legislators and other public servants from their own comments…” An editorial in the Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel blasted the proposal calling it a “nonstarter,” adding that it would “…deter many Mainers from accessing material that should be shared, listened to and scrutinized by as many citizens as possible.”

Started From The Bottom Now We’re Covered By Fair Use. A New York federal judge recently ruled that hip-hop star Drake’s sampling on his 2013 song “Pound Cake” is protected by the fair use doctrine, reported Law360. Judge William H. Pauley wrote that Drake’s sample of a song from jazz organist Jimmy Smith was “precisely the type of use that ‘adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first [work] with new expression, meaning, or message.’” Pauley also rejected claims that the 30-second clip was too long or “usurped” the market for Smith’s song.