Re:Create Recap – November 16, 2017

Academics & Tech Groups Tell USTR: Fair Use Must Be In NAFTA. Over 65 intellectual property law professors and copyright experts signed onto a set of principles that NAFTA trade delegates should follow to protect public interests. Principles highlighted in the document include copyright limitations and exceptions such as fair use and safe harbors. Likewise, technology associations including the Internet Association, Engine, and the Consumer Technology Association sent a joint letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging a “balanced approach” to copyright in the renegotiated NAFTA.

How Comic Book Fandom Transformed Into Purpose. NPR profiled lifelong comic fan Stephanie Williams on how comic books helped her find a place and purpose throughout her teenage years and early adult life. “These stories are more than just fiction. There is something very real rooted in them and that’s something that you can gravitate toward,” said Williams. Years later, comics like X-Men still inspire Williams; she’s now the voice behind her own podcast Misty Knight’s Uninformed Afro, which explores black superheroines.

Court Overreach Could Endanger Free Speech Online. An unprecedented and overly broad injunction approved by federal court requires search engines, ISPs, and other third parties to stop providing access to academic research website Sci-Hub, reported TorrentFreak. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Mitch Stoltz pointed out this broad injunction “bypassed both the DMCA and basic copyright law to get a court order directed at Internet intermediaries.” The DMCA clearly limits the remedies that can be imposed on online platforms for users’ infringement. “That’s a vital protection for all Internet users, because without it, the services that help us access and communicate information over the Internet would face the impossible and error-prone task of policing innumerable users’ use of innumerable copyrighted works,” explained Stoltz.

Happy Birthday, Kindle! Self-Publishing Industry Booms In Just 10 Years. As Amazon’s Kindle celebrates 10 years this week, The Guardian’s Richard Lea examined how the device contributed to today’s thriving self-publishing industry. “The Kindle was never only a portable bookshop, it was also a publishing house,” he wrote. Bypassing traditional publishing houses, self-published books in the U.S. increased from 80,000 to 800,000 in the past decade, and that’s not including the 43% of self-published authors who do not get an ISBN.

Public Knowledge: CASE Act Isn’t The Right Solution For Artists. Public Knowledge’s Meredith Rose wrote about how the CASE Act – the latest attempt to streamline the adjudication process of copyright infringement claims – falls short of addressing the problem in a swift manner. Rose lays out three concerns over the CASE Act: the bill creates a “small claims” court within the Copyright Office instead of within the judiciary system; the claims system could assign damages up to five times the national average of small claims courts; and lastly, that there would be an opt-out system. Rose concludes that the Copyright Office would become the default venue for infringement claims and would “establish an opaque, unaccountable legislation mill that will likely get bogged down by copyright trolls and questionable claimants looking for a payout.”