Re:Create Recap – May 19, 2016

Tech Groups And Public Urge Copyright Office To Preserve DMCA Safe Harbor Status Quo. After last week’s Copyright Office DMCA roundtables in California, a number of outlets noted that “discussion was heavily skewed in favor of copyright owners.” Jeff Lyon with Fight for the Future, a non-profit organization that encouraged nearly 10,000 comments from Internet users in favor of protecting the DMCA’s safe harbor provision, told TorrentFreak, “Unfortunately, the hearings appeared to be rigged against the public interest…The general public is more affected by the DMCA than they even know.” In a conversation with Politico, Consumer Technology’s Michael Petricone commented, “By any reasonable metric, the [DMCA] safe harbor provisions have done remarkably well and that’s why we’re very reluctant to mess with them or change them.”

Must Read: The Worst Ideas Presented At The DMCA Roundtables. Techdirt’s Mike Masnick, who spoke at the DMCA roundtables in California, elaborated on the “bizarre and troubling” discussion that ensued in the article A Dozen Bad Ideas That Were Raised At The Copyright Office’s DMCA Roundtables. From notice and stay down to piracy issues to the safe harbor provision, Masnick goes point-by-point through the content industry and Copyright Office’s “preconceived notions, mainly focused on how copyright law can be changed to better prop up legacy business models, at the expense of the public and innovation…”

“Being On YouTube Is Good For Artists And Record Labels”. YouTube creator Hank Green penned an op-ed in ReCode responding to the entertainment industry’s criticism of innovations like YouTube. He observes YouTube’s crucial role in protecting independent creators from unfair takedowns and supports the DMCA safe harbor provision for protecting companies from unnecessary litigation while simultaneously noting that, despite their complaints, record labels have made extraordinary revenues from YouTube Red and Content ID.

Sony’s Misunderstanding Of The Term “Fair Use”. Many in the industry are happy that Sony backed off its original accusation of copyright infringement by the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association (HBVA). The accusation revolves around a video released from the HVBA highlighting specific songs and a discussion of their historical relevance. In the video, HVBA plays clips from songs copyrighted by Sony. When asked by the HBVA to withdraw their complaint, Sony then asked for a fee (which was later rescinded as well). As explained in Dear Sony: It’s Not “Fee Use,” But “Fair Use”, Mitch Stoltz with the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains how this behavior is very troubling for the creators and fair use and speaks to the mentality of content holders. “[Sony’s] response is troubling all the same…[They believe they were] simply acting out of courtesy, when in fact the company had no right to demand a fee…”

Updates From The World Intellectual Property Organization In Geneva. In User Content Platforms Take the Heat for Artists’ Struggles at WIPO, Jeremy Malcolm with the Electronic Frontier Foundation provides a detailed update on the major copyright issues the international organization is considering. Among them include the fair use rights of broadcasters, YouTube’s policy for compensating creators and the impact of safe harbors on digital and music creators. You can read the report here.