Re:Create Recap – Week of July 6

Organization For Transformative Works Joins Re:Create To Defend Creator Rights. The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) announced on July 8 that they are joining the Re:Create coalition. OTW is a nonprofit organization established to preserve, protect and provide access to “fanworks” – new creative works such as fiction, video, art, games, and crafts created by fans based on existing media. “OTW was founded to defend the rights of fans and other creators of transformative expression and we are excited to join Re:Create’s efforts,” said Betsy Rosenblatt, OTW’s Legal Chair.

Court Suggests That ‘Windowing’ Policies Contribute to Greater Piracy. On June 30, The Disruptive Competition Project (DisCo) wrote about a federal appeals court in New York that upheld an antitrust judgment against Apple and highlighted a non-antitrust thread in the opinion that deals specifically with windowing. Windowing is a “content distribution strategy of releasing the same content in different formats and venues at different times.” In the ebook world, publishers hold back digital distribution in an effort to force consumers into purchasing hardback books. As noted by DisCo, one of the problems with windowing particularly in the case with ebooks is that it includes copyright infringement. “Today’s decision by the appeals court notes that publishing executives knew this quite well, but couldn’t bring themselves to break the practice.”


Dancing Around Wrong Copyright Infringement Decision. Joe Mullin breaks down a long legal battle between EFF and Universal Music over fair use in the digital age in Appeals judges hear about Prince’s takedown of “Dancing Baby” YouTube vid. The case dates back to 2007 when Stephanie Lenz posted a video of her baby dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” to YouTube. The video was taken down citing copyright infringement, but under EFF’s interpretation of the DMCA the “dancing baby” video qualifies as fair use. EFF is seeking damages from Universal Music for wrongful takedown. An appeals court heard the case on July 7 following the last court ruling in 2013, where the judge declined to rule in favor of EFF or Universal.

Time to Modernize the Copyright Office for the Internet Age. Politico Pro’s Nancy Scola maps out the battle lines in the next big copyright debate: the future of the copyright office (subscription required). Featuring multiple members of Re:Create in her July 6 article, Scola describes the tech and digital rights groups’ opposition to an independent office. Consumer Electronics Association head and Re:Create member Michael Petricone said, “Engaging with [copyright] should be easy, it should be fast, and, in 2015, it should be Internet-based.” Matt Schruers with the Computer and Communications Industry Association and also a member of Re:Create said, “It’s manifestly absurd that you can look up patents going back to the 1880s with a click of a mouse but,” because of the Copyright Office’s recordkeeping, “there is a class action lawsuit about who owns ‘Happy Birthday.’”

Courts Reiterate that State AG is Violating First Amendment.  Mike Masnick discusses the close relationship between Mississippi AG Jim Hood and MPAA in a July 6th TechDirt article, Hollywood Resists Revealing Details Of Its Cozy Relationship With Mississippi AG Jim Hood, But Glimpses Come Out. Masnick examines the signs pointing to their cozy bond, although Hollywood is resisting its exposure. Hood has repeatedly blamed Google for all things bad done online, while also making illegal demands of the business. “The courts have overwhelmingly sided with Google up to this point — putting his demands (written by the MPAA) on hold and saying that it was clear Hood unconstitutionally acted in bad faith in violation of the First Amendment.”

Self Proclaimed Alien Spokesman Doubles As Copyright Troll. The Daily Dot highlights a string of DMCA copyright claims that have Tumblr GIF artists in uproar. In recent months, several artists who posted their work to Tumblr have found their art replaced with DMCA notices. To make matters more frustrating for the artists, the individual making the claims identifies himself as the “channel” to Bashar, an extraterrestrial from the future. Kevin Collier’s June 29 article details why hosts, like Tumblr, are incentivised to take down work under the DMCA, largely without recourse for the individuals accused – regardless of a claim’s validity.