Re:Create Recap – September 6, 2018

ICYMI: Time To Get Fair Use Right In Trade Deal. Following the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement announced this week, Re:Create Executive Director Joshua Lamel urged the inclusion of critical fair use provisions as negotiations continue with Canada. “Though the new trade agreement does make progress in modernizing copyright issues, we are concerned it may not include fair use language. At best this is an issue that needs to be resolved during ongoing negotiations with Canada. At worst, it is an unfathomable failure to account for the value of part of the digital economy that could jeopardize potentially billions for the millions of Americans who rely on balanced copyright policies,” Lamel wrote in a Medium post.

Interview With Annemarie Bridy: How DMCA Takedowns Can Threaten Freedom Of Speech. The Recorder interviewed Annemarie Bridy, a professor at the University of Idaho College of Law and an Affiliate Scholar at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, about the problems with automated notice-and-takedown as part of the DMCA. Bridy protested the growth of automated bots that have “a lot of opportunism…but lack the technical sophistication.” Bridy explained how aggressive automated bots can misuse the DMCA to take down content whether or not it is actually copyrighted, thereby jeopardizing free speech.

Disney Says It Won’t Be Intimidated By Overzealous Copyright Holders. Oh, The Irony. In a Project DisCo blog, Jonathan Band pointed out the irony of Disney and the entertainment industry opposing the inclusion of fair use in the new NAFTA deal as Disney seeks protection under fair use in its ongoing legal dispute with the Michael Jackson estate. In its motion to dismiss the complaint following footage used in an ABC News documentary, Disney asserted that “this case is about the right of free speech under the First Amendment, the doctrine of fair use under the Copyright Act, and the ability of news organizations to use limited excerpts of copyrighted works…for the purpose of reporting on, commenting on, teaching about, and criticizing well-known public figures of interest in biographical documentaries without fear of liability from overzealous copyright holders.” Band concluded, “In the absence of a fair use provision in NAFTA, Disney and other media companies could find themselves on the losing end of infringement suits in Mexico.”

The Problems With Strong Content Filtering. A German music theory professor was profiled by Motherboard for his efforts to demonstrate how strong, automated copyright filters “repeatedly fail.” Even YouTube’s Content ID system – one of the most sophisticated filtering systems in the world – was not always able to correctly distinguish between public domain recordings and copyrighted music. “Algorithmic matching is always going to be imprecise, and companies are legally incentivized to be over-inclusive in their filtering,” said Meredith Rose, a lawyer and copyright expert at Public Knowledge. The article warned that aggressive content filtering may become even more draconian under the “looming” EU Copyright Directive.

EU Should Reflect On Original Reasons For Copyright Reform. With the EU vote on Article 13 quickly approaching next week, TechCrunch covered a blog post by Wikimedia Foundation Chair María Sefidari Huici who reminded readers of the very reason changes to copyright are being considered: “To make copyright rules that work for better access to a quickly-evolving, diverse, and open internet.” In the post, Huici used Wikimedia as an example of all that has changed, writing, “The very context in which copyright operates has changed completely. Consider Wikipedia, a platform which like much of the internet today, is made possible by people who act as consumers and creators. People read Wikipedia, but they also write and edit articles, take photos for WikimediaCommons, or contribute to other Wikimedia free knowledge projects.”