Re:Create Recap – September 7, 2017

Cory Doctorow: When Devices Cheat Us. In a piece for Locus Magazine, Cory Doctorow wrote about how Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) criminalizes the modification of copyright software but holds consumers hostage when it comes to “cheating” devices. For instance, Hewlett-Packard printer cartridges used to falsely notify users that they were out of ink and force consumers to buy new cartridges. By hiding behind copyrighted software, he explained, a corporation can force consumers to use approved products and services to modify the device instead of customizing or fixing it themselves. According to Doctorow, corporations that cheat consumers in this way should face steep penalties: “The alternative is toasters that won’t accept third-party bread and dishwashers that won’t wash unauthorized dishes.”

Case Closed: Judge Dismisses Techdirt Defamation Lawsuit. A judge dismissed the “inventor of email” defamation lawsuit against news outlet Techdirt and founder Mike Masnick, reported TechCrunch. The judge agreed with Techdirt and Masnick, noting they were protected by the First Amendment. In a post heralding the victory, Masnick wrote: “This is, clearly, a big win for the First Amendment and free speech — especially the right to call out and criticize a public figure…”

Can You Sell Your Unwanted iTunes Files? Federal Court May Soon Decide. The ability to sell iTunes music to other consumers – just like selling an old CD or record at a garage sale – was up for debate in federal court on August 22. A recording studio sued ReDigi for copyright infringement for enabling customers to resell their iTunes files to other customers when they no longer wanted them. Jonathan Band explained for a Project DisCo blog post how the two-hour hearing on the first sale doctrine emphasizes that this case “raised serious and complex issues that [need] to be handled with care.”

In Rare Success, Lawsuit Over Fake DMCA Claim Moves Forward.
In a September 1 blog post,Techdirt’s Mike Masnick reported on a new court decision which may result in a victory for holding a copyright troll accountable for filing a false copyright notice-and-takedown against another creator. After posting a critical commentary about the Paula White Ministries, fellow YouTuber Shirley Johnson received a takedown notice. After Johnson successfully challenged the takedown, she countersued the Ministries for “malicious prosecution” and “false copyright infringement complaints.” A sub-section of the DMCA’s Section 512 is intended to allow wronged parties to countersue, but Masnick noted that up until this point “nearly all attempts to use DMCA 512(f) have failed.”