Re:Create Recap – October 12, 2017

Re:Create Coalition Calls For Fair Use & Safe Harbors In NAFTA. Following the Re:Create Coalition’s recent letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Broadcasting & Cable’s John Eggerton wroteabout the technology industry’s call for the inclusion of fair and balanced copyright provisions in NAFTA. Eggerton wrote “that without such harbors, Reddit would never have gotten off the ground, for example, and that liability protections must not be weakened at the potential cost of almost half a million jobs and $44 billion in GDP.” In both the letter and a recent op-ed published in The Hill, Re:Create Executive Director Josh Lamel explained that copyright limitations and exceptions, like fair use and safe harbors, are critical to the development and growth of today’s startups.

Internet Archive Presents Online Library Of Books In The Public Domain. The Internet Archive is utilizing a little-known provision of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act to publish an online library of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941, reported Ars Technica. While major Hollywood rightsholders successfully lobbied to keep copyrighted works like Mickey Mouse and Batman from entering the public domain for another two decades, Congress “included a provision giving libraries broad latitude to reproduce works that are in the last 20 years of their copyright terms for purposes of scholarship and research.” The Internet Archive took advantage of that exemption to create the Sonny Bono Memorial Collection: a library of 62 obscure books published in that narrow window.

Appeals Court Reviews “Blurred Lines” Copyright Case. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard an appeal in the “Blurred Lines” copyright lawsuit last week, according to The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets. A 2015 verdict ruled that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams infringed on Marvin Gaye’s song “Got to Give It Up”, but the October 6 hearing gave the “Blurred Lines” creators “an opportunity…to argue why a legal error was made.” The original decision has caused music copyright lawsuits (and settlements) to spike in the past two years. Lead attorney Kathleen Sullivan argued, “This case wasn’t about the sound recording of ‘Got to Give It Up’. It wasn’t about the groove and feel of ‘Got to Give It Up.’ It wasn’t about inspiration by the great artistry of Marvin Gaye. It was about one simple question: substantial similarity between the melody, lyrics, harmony, chords, and instrumentation in the deposit copy and ‘Blurred Lines.'”

Opinion: R Street Calls For Balanced Copyright in a Renegotiated NAFTA. An October 9 op-ed in The Hill from the R Street Institute’s Sasha Moss and Bill Watson called on negotiators to “recognize the role of copyright balance and flexibility in fostering economic growth and trade in digital goods.” The two argued that the digital revolution occurred in part due to provisions in U.S. copyright law “that protect the rights of individuals and businesses to share, manipulate and create new copyrighted content in innovative ways.” Since this newfound digital economy was non-existent when NAFTA was first signed, a 21st century trade agreement must include limitations and exceptions such as fair use and safe harbors as part of a balanced copyright system.