Re:Create Recap – March 30, 2017

Copyright Register Bill Would Hinder Modernization Efforts. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Register of Copyrights and Accountability Act. Re:Create and several member organizations expressed concern with the bill. Re:Create Executive Director Joshua Lamel released a statement, cautioning that, “The Copyright Office is already lagging behind the latest technology developments and is in need of modernization in order to effectively administer the nation’s copyright laws. Unfortunately, Congress is rushing through a bill that will not address the need to modernize the Copyright Office and will in fact slow down ongoing efforts.” The Center for Democracy & Technology explained that the proposed legislation would change the process for how the head of the Copyright Office is chosen by making the position a presidential appointment, confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Similarly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation expressed concern that the bill would politicize the Copyright Office.

Re:Create’s Executive Director Pens Letter On New Creative Economy To New York Times. “The internet has enabled and empowered a new generation of creators who have unleashed a tremendous amount of creativity. More books, more music, more films and more art are being produced on digital platforms than at any other time in history,” wrote Re:Create’s Executive Director Joshua Lamel in a letter to the editor published in the New York Times on March 20. In responding to Farhad Manjoo’s column about the internet’s role in expanding culture, Lamel also cautioned against “overbroad copyright rules…that would stifle the booming digital economy and cultural expansion.”

New Study: Costly Mandatory Content Filters Would Inhibit Internet Economy.

In The Hill op-ed, Ending digital copyright act would fundamentally change Internet, Engine’s Executive Director Evan Engstrom detailed the results of a new study he conducted in conjunction with Princeton University Professor Nick Feamster that revealed how mandatory content filtering would harm the internet economy. The study examined how content filters are “functionally limited in how effectively [they] can be used to minimize copyright infringement, and further, that the costs of implementing filtering tools could be high enough to prevent new startups from entering the market.” Engstrom concluded that the balanced copyright provisions of the DMCA are necessary to protecting startups, internet users and new creators.

Netflix’s Rise Challenges Hollywood. In Netflix: The Monster That’s Eating Hollywood,The Wall Street Journal examined the “escalating tensions between Netflix and Hollywood as the streaming-video company moves from being an upstart dabbling in original programming to a big-spending entertainment powerhouse that will produce more than 70 shows this year.” By expanding its programming into new genres, such as reality TV and stand-up comedy, Netflix’s shift has “unnerved some TV networks.” The article concludes with “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino reflecting positively on her experience creating the last season of the popular show for Netflix and noting that her “network days are probably done.”

State Of Georgia Sues Nonprofit For Making Annotated Laws Accessible To Public. The nonprofit Public.Resource.Org was founded to make government works more accessible to the public, often publishing records and laws to the internet. Techdirt’s Mike Masnick reports in the article Court Says Posting Georgia’s Official Annotated Laws Is Not Fair Use, And Thus Infringing that the state of Georgia sued the nonprofit for republishing its annotated code, citing copyright infringement. Though a judge recently found that Public.Resource.Org’s republication is not covered by fair use, Masnick notes, “Georgia suing someone for helping to make its own laws more accessible just feels pretty damn sleazy and against what a government should be doing for its citizens.”