Re:Create Recap – November 2, 2017

Copy This Podcast With Michael Geist. In Re:Create’s tenth installment of our Copy This podcast, host Kirby Ferguson sits down with University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist to discuss how intellectual property and copyright fits into the NAFTA renegotiations. While trade agreements were once designed to remove barriers to trade and eliminate tariffs on traditional goods and services, the debate has since evolved to include digital trade and intellectual property. Tune in to hear Geist explain the importance of including copyright limitations and exceptions, including fair use protections, in a renegotiated NAFTA.

Introducing New Creator Mary Elizabeth Milbrand. Mary Elizabeth Milbrand translated her love for fashion and interior design into a massive online success. Posting room makeovers and DIY tutorials to her YouTube page (more than 394,000 subscribers), Mary Elizabeth has grown her online empire partnering with other online stars and collaborating with home design and lifestyle brands. In addition to YouTube, she’s boosted her outreach with thousands of followers on Instagram and Facebook. She also appreciates how social media enables her to engage with followers and even expanded her business to include private interior design jobs for fans who love her work.

Startups Urge NAFTA Negotiators To Preserve U.S. Framework For Innovation And Creativity. Engine, along with nearly 60 startups from 20 states, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging NAFTA modernization efforts to include balanced copyright provisions that include fair use protections, DMCA safe harbors and “other copyright limitations and exceptions that protect startups, consumers and creators.” With Canada and Mexico being the top two export destinations for startups, the innovation economy depends on a balanced legal framework that allows startups and small tech companies to grow, innovate and create jobs.

If You Dressed Up For Halloween, You Can Thank Fair Use. ReCreate Executive Director Joshua Lamel penned a Medium post this week exploring how Halloween costumes have a direct relationship to copyright. “Dressing up for Halloween — without the risk of a Hollywood movie studio suing you for copyright infringement — is only possible because of a legal doctrine called ‘fair use,’” wrote Lamel. With some of the most popular costumes coming from TV, movie or literary characters, Lamel explained how fair use allows trick-or-treaters of all ages to make their own handmade costumes, parody costumes, and even costumes that accommodate disabilities.

CCIA: Balanced Copyright Provisions Are Key In NAFTA Modernization Efforts. As the copyright and intellectual property industries await another round of NAFTA negotiations, the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s Rachael Stelly wrote a Project Disco blog post about the role balanced copyright provisions play in maintaining a thriving digital economy. “[B]alanced copyright rules such as fair use and related limitations and exceptions have been critical to the growth of the U.S. technology and Internet economy and central to U.S. innovation,” said Stelly. “The United States will be shooting itself in the foot if it pursues positive digital trade provisions such as data flows in NAFTA, but does not also pursue innovation-oriented, balanced copyright rules such as the limitations and exceptions that the U.S. digital economy depends upon.”

Man Sued For Posting Images Of A 59-Year Old TV Show On Social Media. In what should be a clear case of fair use, CBS Broadcasting filed a complaint against a photographer accusing him of copyright infringement for posting a screenshot of a 1958 episode of the TV show “Gunsmoke” on social media. But as Ars Technica’s Joe Mullin reported, the lawsuit seems to be a retaliatory act dating back to February 2017 when the photographer filed a complaint against CBS Interactive, accusing them of using one of his copyrighted photos on a website without compensating him for it. Mullin noted that the lawsuit is “striking, because using still images from television shows online is so commonplace in a variety of contexts and is often considered fair use.”

Copyright And NAFTA Renegotiations. The American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP), Creative Commons, and the Re:Create Coalition hosted an event, “NAFTA and the Digital Environment,” on October 30, featuring Professor Michael Geist from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. In his keynote address, Geist explained that balanced copyright provisions should be included in the renegotiated NAFTA in order to update the agreement for the Digital Age, addressing the “importance and a necessity of the balance between creator rights on one hand and user rights on the other.