Re:Create Recap – Week of October 26

Copyright Exemptions Illustrate Need For Reform. As part of its triennial review, the Library of Congress announced on Tuesday a number of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s 1201 anti-circumvention rules. Exemptions included the authorization of vehicle software research, jailbreaking cell phones, and editing old video games. While many welcomed the decisions, some advocates cautioned that there is still more to do. “The core issue is that the presumption of infringement in the statute is backwards. Consumers shouldn’t need to seek an exemption for lawful activities just because those activities require circumventing DRM they didn’t ask for and don’t want,” said the Re:Create Coalition in a statement. Erik Stallman of the Center for Democracy & Technology echoed this sentiment, writing in a blog post: “The sheer complexity of some of the granted exemptions — and the need to re-request them every three years — suggests that DMCA rulemaking proceedings are simply not the best vehicle for industrial policymaking where copyright infringement is, at most, a tangential concern. While there is a lot to like in the rule released today, it also points to the need for a broader conversation on the purpose and scope of the DMCA triennial review.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote: “A better long-term solution, though, is to eliminate the need for this onerous rulemaking process.”

The Kojo Nnamdi Show Highlights Fair Use Decision And Its Benefits To Creators.
On October 27, the Kojo Nnamdi Show interviewed Adam Eisgrau, Managing Director of the Office of Government Relations for the American Library Association, and Lateef Mtima, Founder and Director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice at Howard University. Referred to as “Tech Tuesday” on the show, the guests offered their analysis on the recent Google Books case and how the court’s interpretation of fair use benefits creators and innovators. You can listen to the segment here.

Combat Piracy Through Innovation, Not Regulation.
An op-ed from the Copia Institute’s Mike Masnick appeared in The Hill on Wednesday to advocate for policies that encourage innovation instead of imposing regulation. In The answer to the copyright question is innovation, Masnick cites Copia’s recent research, which found that services like Spotify and Netflix curbed infringement more effectively than anti-piracy laws. He explains, “By providing the public a convenient way to experience creative content, while also enabling ways to share, communicate and interact with artists, other fans and more, the ‘challenge’ of piracy seems to decline rapidly.”

Senate Judiciary Puts Pressure On Copyright Office To Study Software Copyrights. Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy wrote a letter last week to the Copyright Office requesting a study of how copyright defines how software-enabled products can be used: “The Office’s longstanding interest and expertise in the intersection of copyright law and technology is essential to understanding how copyright shapes our interactions with software in the things we own.”

Can A Tweet Violate Copyright? As Twitter begins cracking down on copyright infringement, Splitsider journalist Eddie Brawley writes in Calvin, Hobbes, Twitter and Copyright that the popular, fake account @Calvinn_Hobbes could be shut down by the comic strip’s creator for infringement. Brawley argues, however, that sharing the iconic comics should be covered under fair use; otherwise the comic strips may be restricted “to the audience who already knows and likes it and [will fail] to use full power of the social media internet.”

Understanding The Bad Blood In Internet Radio Copyright Law. Motherboard’s Sarah Jeong pens a primer for understanding Internet radio copyright laws in Internet Radio Copyright is Bad and Dumb: A Comprehensive Explainer. Despite the fact that “the Internet could set the stage for a flowering of a million subcultures and genres and underground scenes,” the article explains how Internet radio is subject to different copyright laws than AM and FM radio stations because the legislation was passed at the height of Napster and other piracy controversies. Furthermore, the prohibitively expensive and complicated copyright system prevents other competitors from entering the market and allowing entrenched companies like Pandora to dominate the market without need to innovate.