Re:Create Recap – October 5, 2017

Executive Director Josh Lamel On Keeping Fair And Balanced Copyright Provisions In NAFTA.Executive Director Josh Lamel sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on October 5 urging the USTR to “include critical rights and protections under U.S. law, including both limitations and exceptions to copyright such as fair use and clear safe harbors for internet platforms.” Lamel also wrote an October 4 op-ed in The Hill pushing back on the entertainment industry’s false narratives. Lamel wrote, “Fair use industries equate to 16 percent of the U.S. annual economy. That translates to 18 million American workers employed in fair use-based jobs generating $5.6 trillion in annual revenue. Meanwhile, a recent study found that weakened safe harbors would result in the loss of 425,000 American jobs and $44 billion in U.S. GDP each year.”

Blog Post: Senator Hatch’s DMCA Bargain Should Remain In NAFTA. The Library Copyright Alliance’s Jonathan Band penned a blog post for Project DisCo, explaining why the DMCA’s safe harbors provision should not be removed from a renegotiated NAFTA and citing over two decades of historical and legal precedent. Band noted that Senator Orrin Hatch brokered the “bargain” back in 1998 as a “carefully negotiated compromise between diverse stakeholders” and urged negotiators to maintain balanced copyright measures like safe harbors in the trade agreement.

This Stuff Is Bananas: The Latest In Copyright Litigation.
Costume manufacturer Rasta Imposta sued Kmart and Sears for the alleged copyright infringement of its “banana suit” costume designs, reported Bloomberg’s Polly Mosendz and Kim Bhasin. Rasta Imposta copyrighted its banana costume in 2010, licensing the design to stores like Kmart that sell Halloween costumes. They argue Kmart’s infringing costume is “entirely too similar, citing the shape, the black ends of the banana, the vertical lines down the middle of the costume, the cut outs for limbs, and even the advertising…” Mosendz and Bhsain noted this is not the first Halloween costume copyright lawsuit; there have also been suits over Power Rangers, bacon-and-egg, and ketchup-and-mustard costumes.

Is It Worth Reopening Section 108?
With the Copyright Office considering reform of the Copyright Act’s Section 108 — providing for libraries’ limitations and exceptions — Krista Cox with the Association of Research Libraries wrote a blog post considering why “there is a credible and serious risk that lobbyists for [rightsholder] groups would expend tremendous effort to remove the fair use savings clause from Section 108.” Groups representing the movie studios, authors, and publishers have previously expressed “clear hostility to Section 108’s reference to fair use.”

ReTweeting As Copyright Infringement? In an October 2 article, Techdirt’s Timothy Geigner analyzed another example of absurd copyright cases: retweeting. Dr. Keith Bell sued King’s College and football coach Jeff Knar for retweeting an image of a page from his motivational book Winning Isn’t Normal two years ago. The original tweet was posted by Northeastern State University’s baseball team, which deleted the tweet after receiving a cease and desist letter from Bell. “It should be clear that this is nonsense. Retweeting is not the same as republishing and holding individual members of the public responsible for copyright infringement,” wrote Geigner.

Jonathan Band Named 2017 Recipient Of The L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award. The American Library Association granted Jonathan Band the 2017 L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award, recognizing his key role as a supporter of “the Constitutional purpose of the U.S. copyright law, fair use and the public domain,” reported Publishers Weekly. In a statement, ALA President James Neal said, “Jonathan Band has guided the library community over two decades through the challenges of the copyright legal and legislative battles…The 2017 L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award appropriately celebrates Jonathan’s leadership, counsel and dedication.”