Re:Create Recap – May 12, 2016

Google Vs. Oracle Trial Focuses On Fair Use, Could Shape Future Of Software Innovation.  Fortune provides a Q&A guide to the ongoing Google/Oracle copyright trial, which could determine the future of fair use of unlicensed APIs (application program interfaces)–the “set of instructions that allow one type of software talk to another.” Oracle is suing Google for using Oracle-owned APIs without permission. As Jeff John Roberts explains in Google and Oracle’s $9.3 Billion Fair Use Fight Starts Today, Here’s a Guide, large and small web developers frequently use APIs, such as Google Maps or a “tweet this” button, in their own programs. Roberts writes, “Now, if Google loses, [developers] could have to seek a license or basically reinvent the wheel every time they want one computer program to interact with another…allowing companies to assert copyright over APIs could have a profound and negative effect on software innovation.”

Copyright Office Section 512 Roundtables Move Onto California Today.
As reported in Politico Morning Tech today, the Copyright Office continues its series of public roundtables in California as part of its study of the DMCA’s Section 512, the safe harbor provision which enables free speech and creativity on the Internet. Re:Create Coalition Executive Director Josh Lamel and Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Corynne McSherry will be speaking at the panels in support of Section 512’s current status.

Column: “Copyright Law Should Enrich Democracy”. A copyright lawsuit to declare the iconic Civil Rights Movement song “We Shall Overcome” in the public domain spurred USA Today columnist and president of the First Amendment Center Ken Paulson to examine how the entertainment industry’s lobbyists have extended copyright terms for their own benefits. In the column “We shall overcome” should belong to us, Paulson notes the Constitution’s copyright provision was “designed to encourage creativity and in time make those ideas available to all; it was not adopted to enrich corporate interests and tie up ideas for almost a century.”

Despite Attempts To Delay, Classical Score “Bolero” Enters Public Domain. French composer Maurice Ravel’s classical ballet score “Bolero” officially entered the public domain on May 1, nearly 90 years after its composition. Techdirt notes that the owners of the copyright attempted to add a co-author–a similar strategy used by the rightsholders to Anne Frank’s diary–to extend the copyright another 20 years. The song has earned approximately $57 million in royalties since 1960, but it is now freely available to the world.

Australian Productivity Commission Gets It Right on Copyright, Fair Use. The Australian Productivity Commission, a government agency tasked with improving Australia’s capacity for production and innovation, produced a 600-page report of recommendations to lawmakers on fair use and copyright. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Association of Research Libraries do an excellent job of summarizing the reports and its key findings which include: supplementing copyright with a fair use right that would allow works to be freely used in ways that are socially beneficial and cause minimal harm to the copyright owner; reducing the current copyright term down from life plus 70 years; and addressing the harm international trade agreements place on Australia’s creative industry.

In Case You Missed Public Knowledge’s 3D/DC Event.
Last month, Public Knowledge hosted it’s annual 3D/DC event on Capitol Hill. Day one of the two-day event comprised of grassroots advocacy meetings with members and staffers on Capitol Hill. The second day featured the main event which included panel discussions on policy surrounding 3D printing and it’s impact on innovation and creativity as well as a speech by the Congressional Maker Caucus co-chair Rep. Mark Takano. Read Courtney Duffey’s recap of the event here.