Re:Create Recap – Week of January 18, 2016

Four Years After SOPA/PIPA, Innovation And Creativity Are Still Under Attack. The op-ed Content Filtering Would Hurt Free Speech and Innovation from Re:Create’s Executive Director Josh Lamel appeared on Huffington Post, coinciding with the four year anniversary of the historical Internet blackout protests and Copyright Week (see below). Though 75,000 websites and 15 million users successfully defeated the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), Lamel argues that the fight to protect free speech and technology innovation has not ended. The entertainment industry is now demanding “notice and staydown” — requiring a platform to independently monitor and remove material flagged under the DMCA. He cautions, “Notice and stay down might seem innocuous, but in reality it is content filtering without due process.”

This Week Is Copyright Week! The annual Copyright Week, organized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), takes place each year to help ensure copyright promotes creativity and innovation.  The EFF blog post Copyright Week 2016: Making Copyright Work For The Public notes that we’ve entered a “critical stage” in the copyright reform process as, four years after the SOPA/PIPA blackout protests, “Hollywood and others try to sneak elements of SOPA back into the debate, through private agreements with intermediaries, influence on state officials, extraordinary injunctions in court, and more.”

Excessive Copyright Decision Breaks Up The Birthday Party.
Croatian bakeries have received legal threats to cease depicting popular cartoon and movie characters on children’s birthday cakes or else face fines between $300 and $1,000. According to TorrentFreak’s article Pastry Shops Targeted Over Copyright Infringing “Star Wars” and “Minion” Cakes, one local bakery claims to have the exclusive rights to sell cakes with Disney, Nickelodeon and Universal Studios characters and is attempting to stop other pastry shops from using these designs. “We are appalled by this decision which we consider unfounded and unfair. It is a huge loss for us, because the penalties are terrible, and it is a difficult situation to explain to the customer,” one allegedly infringing bakery owner told a Croatian newspaper.

Want To Celebrate David Bowie’s Music? Not So Fast According To Complicated Copyright Laws. After the recent death of David Bowie, fans across the country urged radio stations to devote an entire day to playing his music. Yet The Washington Post’s David Post explains in All-day Bowie and the Copyright Act the complicated copyright laws behind webcast radio that would likely prevent such a dedication to Bowie.

Supreme Court To Hear Copyright Case On Reselling Textbooks. Ars Technica reports the U.S. Supreme Court will take up a fee-shifting case after an e-seller successfully won a copyright lawsuit in Supreme Court takes up copyright case over resold textbooks–again. In 2013 the Supreme Court decided entrepreneur Supap Kirtsaeng, who resold Asian textbooks for cheaper prices in the U.S., was covered by first-sale doctrine despite the textbook company’s allegations of copyright infringement. Kirtsaeng is now suing to have his attorneys’ fees paid by the textbook company. The Supreme Court decision will have national implications for copyright cases and the willingness of alleged infringers to defend their claims.

In Ironic Turn, Hollywood Website Showcases Why Takedowns Are Dangerous. A website created by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to curb piracy – WhereToWatch – has ironically been the target of DMCA takedown notices from companies performing automated searches. Mike Masnick of Techdirt explains in Hollywood Helps Show Why DMCA Takedowns Are Dangerous, By Taking Down Links To MPAA’s Search Engine that “The MPAA wants a notice-and-staydown provision because they want to pretend that these kinds of mistakes never happen, rather than acknowledge the reality that they happen basically every day–even to (or by) the MPAA itself.”

All Artists Beware Of Failure To Limit Copyright. In order to promote creativity yet protect the works of past creators, a proper balance of copyright must be applied. In Nothing New Under the Sun, co-authors Jonathan Band from and Caile Morris of the Association of Research Libraries explain how copyright holders focus too much on their rights, rather than the effects copyright limitations place on the next batch of creators or authors. “Artists borrow themes, styles, structures, tropes, and phrases from works that inspire them. And if copyright overprotects existing works—if it restricts authors’ ability to build on the creative output of authors who came before them…The failure to recognize how essential limitations are to new creative expression results in bad policy, such as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (adding 20 years to the copyright term) or the absence of mandatory exceptions and limitations in free trade agreement.”

Fans Explain What Fanworks, Fair Use Mean To Them. In anticipation of International Fanworks Day on February 15, 2016, the Organization for Transformative Works published guest blogs answering the question, What Fanworks Mean to Me. One respondent writes, “Fanworks, to me, are a way of connecting with others through art.” Check out the rest of the submissions here.