Re:Create Recap – March 15, 2018

Bipartisan Agreement: Copyright Regulatory Capture Is Bad For The Economy. NPR’s “Planet Money” podcast interviewed libertarian Brink Lindsey and liberal Steven M. Teles on how regulatory capture leads to economic inequality. The podcast hosts noted that Disney should be enshrined in the “hall of fame for regulatory capture” for the company’s efforts to change copyright law to suit its own purposes and protect its profits. “Development of copyright law…can be explained by making sure that Mickey Mouse never enters the public domain,” said Lindsey. “Mickey and the lawyers — the more they protect their share, the less growth there is, the less mobility,” concluded cohost Noel King.

NAFTA Warning: Don’t Sideline Concerns Of Internet Users. During the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations last week in Mexico City, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Jeremy Malcolm warned that the concerns of internet users are getting “sidelined,” and called for more transparency with the process. In a blog about the importance of safe harbors and fair use, Malcolm wrote, “It would be great if EFF and other groups representing users could speak directly with negotiators on issues such as fair use, the need to avoid placing restrictive conditions on copyright safe harbor rules, and the benefits that a Section 230-style safe harbor could bring to the online freedom of expression of Internet users throughout North America.”

It Takes A Librarian. Allyson Mower, Head of Scholarly Communication & Copyright at the University of Utah Marriott Library, emphasized the important role that school librarians play in education in a blog for the American Library Association (ALA). Pivoting from a new op-ed by ALA President Jim Neal on the weakening of school libraries, Mower wrote, “Students need that extra person in the form of a librarian to help navigate content and make that one-on-one connection in order to understand their own role in reading and integrating content into their individual lives.” For more on the role of librarians and education, tune into the latest episode of Re:Create’s Copy This podcast.

Showdown Over DMCA Takedown. A blog by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) documented the case of a bad video game review as yet another example of DMCA abuse. According to the blog, Richard La Ruina’s displeasure with a negative review of his dating game Super Seducer by YouTuber IAmPattyJack led to a Twitter dispute between the two. While La Ruina insisted during the exchanges he would never issue a DMCA because “We only DMCA when people rip our products,” a DMCA notice still resulted in the review getting taken down for days. EFF rightly pointed out that La Ruina’s assumption that the DMCA decision was his to make reveals why there is widespread abuse, “DMCA takedowns are supposed to be for infringement and not silencing criticism. But the perception that they are a tool for that is so pervasive that merely following the rules makes you look like the good guy.”

Ready Player One Release Demonstrates The Clash Between Copyright Law And Fans. The original book is largely a piece of fanwork filled with 1980s pop culture references to DeLoreans and Ghostbusters, but in order to bring the upcoming Ready Player One to the movie screen, director/producer Steven Spielberg went to great lengths to license many characters and images. Unfortunately, due to copyright law, virtual reality (VR) fans of the upcoming Ready Player One release may be disappointed to discover that the movie’s VR tie-ins will not include those licensed characters. The Verge reported “with a few exceptions, the designers apparently didn’t get the rights to all the movie and game franchises Spielberg did.”