Re:Create Recap – May 4, 2017

Hollywood’s At It Again: New Lawsuit Challenges DMCA’s Safe Harbor Provision. An April 26 blog post by Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Mitch Stoltz analyzed a new lawsuit against internet service provider Grande Communications, which hinges on “whether and when a home broadband provider should cut off a customer’s Internet service when someone using that service is accused of copyright infringement.” Stoltz noted the purpose of DMCA Section 512 is to shield online platforms from liability for their users’ activities and urged the courts to “reject the tired and dangerous argument that Internet services should act as copyright police.”

YouTube Star Tyler Oakley Talks About His Rise To Fame. In an interview with People, Tyler Oakley spoke about his unlikely rise to YouTube fame when the vlogs he made to keep in touch with friends during college were being viewed by a broader audience. Oakley worked as a social media manager for a website after graduation until he tried YouTube for full-time in 2012. “I could go into my bedroom, turn on my camera and do it my own way. I was doing my 9-to-5 job, but for myself,” Oakley said. Since then, Oakley has gained nearly eight million subscribers, written a bestselling memoir, and begun a talk show on Ellen Degeneres’ EllenTube.

Homeowner Faces Copyright Threat After Trying To Rebuild Home. According to a recent article written by Techdirt‘s Mike Masnick, a homeowner was prevented from rebuilding his beloved home after a fire destroyed everything. Why? Because the original builder claimed copyright on the blueprints and sent a cease and desist letter alleging infringement for rebuilding the home. Masnick asks readers “why do we make copyright law so ridiculous that it could ever be considered to do something like block someone from rebuilding their own house?” and writes the case is “another example of copyright expansion causing all sorts of trouble.”

Balanced Copyright Goes Global. To mark World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, Public Knowledge joined with a number of civil society organizations to publish an open letter calling on governments — both here and abroad — to support balanced copyright. The organizations presented a set of principles for copyright reform, including protecting innovation, preserving fair access to technology and internet freedom, and promoting social justice. “We call on all interested parties to participate in debates on copyright proposals, to ensure that copyright promotes progress and justice, full compliance with the commitments of our states to human rights and not the concentration of wealth and power in ever fewer hands,” the letter concluded.

LSU Sues Publisher For Blocking Materials For Vet Students. Earlier this year, Louisiana State University (LSU) filed a lawsuit against science publisher Elsevier for blocking veterinary students from access to research materials available to everyone else. The suit alleged that Elsevier “unfairly [abused] its leverage” and is trying to coerce a state university into paying higher and unnecessary fees. Krista Cox with the Association of Research Libraries wrote a blog post in support of LSU, explaining: “In a time where states are facing enormous budget deficits public universities must ensure financial responsibility of scarce public resources. LSU is attempting to exercise sound judgment and stewardship of limited resources, but its only reward has been Elsevier blocking access to faculty, researchers and students at the university.”

Khloe Kardashian Sued For Posting A Photo Of Herself On Instagram? Khloe Kardashian was recently sued by the photo agency Xposure for posting to Instagram a photo of herself taken by the agency — highlighting the lack of clarity in copyright law in the digital age. According to the The Hollywood Reporter, “Of all the creative industries — films, television, music, books, etc. — our money is on photography as being the most copyright aggressive these days.” Xposure is seeking $25,000 in damages and profits arising from Kardashian’s use of the photograph.