Re:Create Recap – May 5, 2016

Copyright Office Section 512 Roundtables Conclude In NYC, Head To CA. This week, the Copyright Office hosted a series of public roundtables in New York 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 members Michael Petricone (Consumer Technology Association), Matthew Schruers (Computer & Communications Industry Association), Kerry Sheehan (Public Knowledge), Jonathan Band (Library Copyright Alliance) and Rebecca Tushnet (Organization for Transformative Works) spoke at the panels in support of Section 512’s current status. The roundtables will resume next week in California with panels including Coalition Executive Director Josh Lamel and Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Corynne McSherry.

As The Klingons Say, “qaStaHvIS wa’ ram loSSaD Hugh SIjlaH qetbogh loD.” In the latest attempt to halt the production of the fan-project Star Trek: Axanar, CBS and Paramount have sued the filmmakers for copyright infringement over the use of the fictional language, Klingon. In Behold, a legal brief written in Klingon, Brian Fung of The Washington Post explains how CBS and Paramount are suing the filmmakers for their use of the Klingon language in the film, claiming its use violates copyright law. The non-profit Language Creation Society has filed an amicus brief arguing it is unreasonable to lay claim to the entire Klingon language because it has transcended “Star Trek” and can now be found all over the real world. Charles Duan of Public Knowledge invokes the fictional language while citing the consequences of such a lawsuit: “‘qaStaHvIS wa’ ram loSSaD Hugh SIjlaH qetbogh loD’ – four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man. That proverb, which aired first in 1968, is strangely prescient of the copyright claim over Klingon today. For Paramount’s lawsuit against Axanar has the potential not merely to cut off the voice of one movie, but to silence thousands of speakers, scholars, performers, and fans of Star Trek and its fantastic universe.”

Supreme Court Says “Bring It On” To Cheerleader Uniform Copyright Case. This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will potentially establish a “clear legal test” for when clothing designs are eligible for copyright protection, according to The Wall Street Journal article Can a Copyright Protect a Cheerleader Uniform? Lead cheerleader uniform manufacturer Varsity Brands Inc. sued newcomer Star Athletica back in 2010, claiming the company infringed on its copyrighted uniform designs of stripes, zigzags and color patterns. The lower courts have disagreed on the case, but Star Athletica petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse a ruling “that would mean that industrial designers could now claim copyright protection for pleats on tennis skirts, button patterns on golf shirts…”

Coalition Members Create New Tools To Help Younger Audience Become Advocates. The American Library Association joined with the Harry Potter Alliance to launch “Spark,” an eight-part video series developed to support and guide first-time advocates who are interested in advocating at the federal level. The series targets potential participants aged 13-22 and covers everything from setting up in-person legislator meetings to the process of constructing a campaign, helping inexperienced grassroots advocates get involved. Read more about the the initiative here.

Dutch Court Finds Hyperlinks To Copyrighted Material Are Covered By Fair Use. A key advisor to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered an Opinion finding that “posting a hyperlink to content on another website, which was made available without authorization, is not in itself copyright infringement” according to an article at Silicon Republic. Though the CJEU is not obligated to follow the Opinion, it commonly does. The advisor added that concerns that every hyperlink carried a legal risk “would be to the detriment of the proper functioning and the very architecture of the internet, and to the development of the information society.”