Published on:

The U.S. Copyright Office came to Stanford Law School yesterday to conduct a roundtable on Recordation Reengineering,  The Stanford Law School Law and Policy Lab submitted comments and a thoughtful White Paper, and live tweeted the proceeding along with us (see @slspolicylab and @fairlyused). The Law and Policy Lab was represented at the roundtable by Peter Holm, third year law student.  We interviewed Peter to get the essence of the issue and the White Paper, which is available as document 23 on the Copyright Office comments page.

The roundtable was conducted by Robert Brauneis, Abraham L. Kaminstein Scholar in Residence, U.S. Copyright Office.

Robert Brauneis, Abraham L. Kaminstein Scholar in Residence, U.S. Copyright Office

Robert Brauneis, Abraham L. Kaminstein Scholar in Residence, U.S. Copyright Office

The White Paper was submitted to Brauneis by Ariel Green, Sean Harb, Peter Holm, Kingdar Prussien, Kasonni Scales, and Juliana Yee, Copyright Policy Lab Practicum

Mary Minow: What was the impetus that led Stanford to research and write this White Paper?

Peter Holm:  The Copyright Office contacted Stanford initially and Professor Paul Goldstein contacted us.  I took a copyright class in the Fall of 2012 with Professor Goldstein. He emailed a few of us over the summer to see if we were interested. He described it as a chance to offer concrete suggestions to modernize the Copyright Office operations.

Minow: That sounds broad.  When did the focus narrow to copyright document recordations?

Holm:  That narrower focus developed in the Fall as we spoke with Maria Pallante, Register of Copyrights; Jacqueline Charlesworth, General Counsel, United States Copyright Office, and then with Professor Bob Brauneis who is there as a scholar in residence on these issues.

Minow:  Why does this matter?

Holm:  To have economic value, an owner of copyrighted works has to be able to sell and make his works available. If you don’t know who the owner is, you can’t make those transactions and the works lose value, so availability of this information is integral.

Minow: How do people find out now about who owns what copyrights?

Holm: It varies by industry.  Neither registration of copyrights nor recordation of copyright transfers are required, but both have benefits to the owner. Because taking these steps is voluntary, the amount of information available for any given work varies considerably.  So for example, in the music industry, there is extensive ownership information and licensing availability through ASCAP, BMI and the Harry Fox agency.  So if I want to play Elton John at a party open to all Stanford students, I can get a license from those collecting societies and not worry about who owns the rights.

Whereas if I find a book in the library, published in 1955 and I want to use it, it’s harder to find information.  There are probably records at the Copyright Office for the initial owner, as registration used to be required, but subsequent transfers might not have been recorded, so many questions remain. Did he transfer the copyright at some point? If not, is the author still alive? Did it go to his heirs, and who are they?

There is a substantial cost to investigating this, and often one doesn’t know who to talk to.

Minow: What’s the gist of your proposal?

Holm: It’s not a proposal per se. It’s really a list of options and tradeoffs.  We look at the role of the copyright office. Should it hold a giant database, partner with third parties?  Really it comes down to how do we best provide access to the public and get the information they need without overly burdening authors with unnecessary requirements?  We don’t want to make it too hard for them to exercise their rights to transfer works, since transfers are potentially beneficial.

Minow: What are the benefits of recording transfer documents, since it’s not required?

Holm:  It gives constructive notice of the transfer.  Also, if you record a transfer document there is a presumption of validity for that document over subsequent instruments of transfer of the same title.

Minow: Thanks for talking with us today.

——

Peter Holm is a third year law student at Stanford Law School.

Mary Minow is the Executive Editor of the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use page.

Published on:

ORPHAN WORKS is red hot again.  After a number of failed legislative attempts and a couple of high profile court cases, its back to the drawing board, albeit a better defined drawing board.  On the one hand, most everyone agrees that  for true orphans, it would be great for us all to be able to digitize, copy, adapt, distribute and otherwise use them. On the other hand, how do we know it’s a true orphan? What if there is an “orphan” owner?

The Copyright Office just held two days of public roundtables on Orphan Works (See twitter #orphanworks for some flavor of the sessions). The Copyright Office has now opened up the floodgates for public comment from those of us who were not in D.C. Continue reading →

Published on:

CopyrightX: Lecture 11.3, Technological Protection Measures by William Fisher Published on Feb 20, 2014

This video is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 2.5 License, the terms of which are available here: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b….

This lecture was prepared for the course CopyrightX, which was offered by William Fisher under the auspices of Harvard Law School and HarvardX during Spring 2014. For more information on CopyrightX, please see http://copyx.org

Posted in: Videos
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

The highly successful open course from Harvard prepared and delivered by Prof. William Fisher is in its Spring 2014 incarnation. It has a clear organization that lets you dive into a specific area that interests you like Technological Protection Measures. A full set of lectures and other resources available to the public online. I especially like the copyright concept maps.  A vision for the course can be found here.

Published on:

Justia attorneys have summarized a number of unusually interesting recent copyright decisions that I’d like to call to your attention. If you click through, you’ll see human written, human readable case summaries.

Garcia v Google – or the Innocence of the Muslims case, aligns copyright interests with an actress’s interest in controlling the use of her performance but is juxtaposed to free speech interests by Google/YouTube

Anderson v. LaVere – heirs of Mississippi blues musician Robert Johnson dispute over royalties

Brownstein v. Lindsay – about whether a court has authority to cancel a copyright registration when a plaintiff’s authorship has been “expressly repudiated”

Swatch v Bloomberg – in which Bloomberg obtained a copy of a conference call recording discussion a company’s recent earnings report

 

Posted in: Cases
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

On January 16, 2014, Stanford’s Program in Law, Science & Technology along with CodeX: The Stanford Center on Legal Informatics hosted a discussion with UC Berkeley Professor Brian Carver to discuss the Free Law Project, which provides free public access to primary legal materials, develops legal research tools, and supports academic research on legal corpora.

 

Posted in: Videos
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

On January 28, 2014, Stanford’s Program in Law, Science & Technology hosted the discussion, “Congratulations, you have an app – now what? App Development and Marketing from A-Z.” The discussion featured a panel of high level, experienced practitioner who provide tips, checklists and a road map for addressing legal considerations relating to mobile apps, including best practices for mobile TOU and Privacy Policies, platform considerations and much more.

Panelists included Ian Ballon, Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, Lothar Determann, Partner at Baker & McKenzie, Tristan Ostrowski, Product Counsel, Android at Google Inc., Geoff Griffith, Senior Counsel at Google Inc, Thomas “TJ” Angioletti, Associate General Counsel, Technology & Transactions at Netflix, Daniel Brennan, Director, Legal at Twitter, Inc. and Luis Villa, Deputy General Counsel at Wikimedia Foundation.

Posted in: Videos
Published on:
Updated:
Published on:

http://judiciary.house.gov/index.cfm/hearings?ID=8E18A9AA-1AA4-4D7C-8EBF-0284862EC44B

A little hidden on the Internets, so we bring the Congressional hearings on Fair Use here to you:

January 28, 2014

Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building

 

 

Published on:

The public meeting has been postponed until Dec. 12, but the public comment deadline remains the same, Nov. 13th.  The Department of Commerce is soliciting input on the Internet Policy Task Force’s green paper,  “Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy,”  produced by the USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Questions from the Federal Register Oct. 3, 2013

Remixes

1. Is the creation of remixes being unacceptably impeded by this uncertainty? If not, why not? If so, how? In what way would clearer legal options result in even more valuable creativity?

2. In what ways, if any, can right holders be efficiently compensated for this form of value in cases where fair use does not apply?

3. What licensing mechanisms currently exist, or are currently under development, for remixes and for which categories of works?

4. Can more widespread implementation of intermediary licensing, such as YouTube’s Content ID system, play a constructive role? If so, how? If not, why not?

5. Should alternatives such as microlicensing to individual consumers, a compulsory license, or a specific exception be considered? Why or why not?

6. What specific changes to the law, if any, should be considered? To what extent are there approaches that do not require legislation that could constructively address these issues?

First Sale

7. What are the benefits of the first sale doctrine? And to what extent are those benefits currently being experienced in the digital marketplace?

8. To what extent does the online market today provide opportunities to engage in actions made possible by the first sale doctrine in the analog world, such as sharing favorite books with friends, or enabling the availability of less-than-full-price versions to students? 9. If the market does not currently provide such opportunities, will it do so in the near future? If not, are there alternative means to incorporate the benefits of the first sale doctrine in the digital marketplace? How would adoption of those alternatives impact the markets for copyrighted works?

10. Are there any changes in technological capabilities since the Copyright Office’s 2001 conclusions that should be considered? If so, what are they? For example, could some technologies ensure that the original copy of a work no longer exists after it has been redistributed?

11. To what extent are there particular market segments or categories of users that may warrant particularized legal treatment?

12. How will the Supreme Court’s decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 133 S.Ct. 1351 (2013), impact the ability of right holders to offer their works at different prices and different times in different online markets? How will any such changes impact the availability of and access to creative content in the United States and elsewhere?

Statutory Damages

13. To what extent is application of the current range of statutory damages necessary for effective deterrence with respect to (a) direct infringement by individual file sharers and (b) secondary liability by online services?

14. Is the potential availability of statutory damages against online

services for large scale secondary infringement hindering the development of new, legitimate services or platforms for delivering content? If so, how? What is the evidence of any such impact?

15. If statutory damages for individual file sharers and/or services found secondarily liable for infringement were to be recalibrated, how should that be accomplished? Would legislation be required?

Government Role in Improving the Online Licensing Environment

16. What are the biggest obstacles to improving access to and standardizing rights ownership information? How can the government best work with the private sector to overcome those obstacles?

17. To what extent is a lack of access to standardized, comprehensive, and reliable rights information impeding the growth of the online marketplace? What approaches could be taken to improve the situation?

18. Are there other obstacles that exist to developing a more robust, effective, or comprehensive online licensing environment? If so, what are they?

19. In addition to those efforts to develop standardized, comprehensive, and reliable rights databases and online licensing platforms described in the Green Paper, are there other efforts under way by the private sector or public entities outside the United States? If so, what are they?

20. Would a central, online licensing platform for high-volume, low-value uses (a ‘‘copyright hub’’) be a useful endeavor in the United States? If not, why not? If so, how can the government support such a project?

21. What role should the United States government play in international initiatives at WIPO or elsewhere?

Operation of the DMCA Notice and Takedown System

22. The Task Force believes that at least the following issues could be  constructively addressed through a notice and takedown multistakeholder dialogue:

a. Reducing the volume of takedown notices sent to service providers;
b. Minimizing reappearance of infringing material;

c. Inaccurate takedown requests;

d. Misuse of takedown requests; and e. Difficulties in using the system for

individuals or small and medium-size enterprises (SME).

What other issues could be considered? For each issue to be considered, who are the stakeholders needed at the table?

23. How can the Task Force ensure participation by all relevant stakeholders, as well as effective and informed representation of their interests?

24. Are there lessons from existing multistakeholder processes in the realms of Internet policy, intellectual property policy, or technical standard- setting that could be applied here? If so, what are they and to what extent are they applicable?

25. In what ways could the stakeholder discussions be structured to best facilitate consensus?

 

 

Published on:

By way of introduction, you might wonder: what is the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA)?

UELMA was approved in July 2011 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (now the Uniform Law Commission). UELMA addresses the challenges states face in providing permanent public access to trustworthy electronic legal material. UELMA gives states a lot of flexibility. It does not require them to make an online version of the law official. But if a state does designate an online version as official, then UELMA requires that the online version be:

  1. Authenticated, by providing a method to determine that it is unaltered;
  2. Preserved, either in electronic or print form; and
  3. Accessible, for use by the public on a permanent basis.

The types of legal materials that might be included in an UELMA enactment are state constitutions, state session laws, codified laws, and agency regulations which have the effect of law. UELMA also establishes a presumption that a state’s authenticated laws are accurate copies, and that presumption applies in every state that has enacted UELMA. So adopting UELMA will harmonize standards for acceptance of electronic legal material across state boundaries.

If a state designates an online version of its primary legal materials as official, UELMA’s preservation component requires provisions for backup and recovery, and procedures to ensure the integrity and continued usability of the material.

When UELMA was first enacted, the Government Relations Office (GRO) of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) reached out to AALL members and chapters, looking for people to get involved with promoting the passage of UELMA.

I had moved to Colorado in July, 2011. In November, the GRO got in touch with me and asked if I would be the lead advocate in Colorado for UELMA. I was really excited about UELMA and I said yes. The GRO sent me position statements and FAQs and a contact in the Colorado Senate. It was about then that I began to wonder what I had done.

I was entirely new to the state, had no personal relations with any state legislators, stakeholders, librarians, Library groups, or anyone else. But I read my materials and went off to meet the senator with all my materials to ask for someone to sponsor the uniform law.

So what did I actually wind up doing, besides meeting with the senator? I personally emailed every senator on the senate judiciary committee and every representative on the house judiciary committee, explaining what UELMA was, sending links, and offering to help. The senator who introduced the bill asked for some further help with issues about disability access under UELMA, and I sent her my comments.

No one else took me up on my offer until a day in March 2012 when I got an email, apologizing for the lateness and asking if I could testify before the Senate Judiciary committee on UELMA the next day .  Sadly I was on a business trip in California, so I called the trusty GRO and asked for help. Together we put together a letter, which I emailed in. It was a helpful letter, according to the sponsor. It was read into the record. The bill passed the senate committee unanimously and was sent to finance.

I sent legislators lots of information about the many ways that documents can be authenticated because the Code of Colorado Regulations online is the official version and if UELMA was passed in Colorado, it was going to cost money to authenticate it. The bill sailed through the finance committee and headed to the house. Without any help from me, it passed through both committees in the house and went to the governor.

After UELMA was law, I got in touch with the agency that had been given the job of implementing UELMA and sent them all of the information the GRO had gathered on authentication and put them in contact with Michele Timmons, the Minnesota Revisor of Statutes, who was working on an in-house authentication system.

The key takeaways for me from this process were:  you don’t need to know your legislators or have a network in place in order to effect change and work within a new system; there don’t need to be large groups of people involved; the GRO was an amazing resource; and it wasn’t really that much work!

Other states have had a much different road to enactment. For example, in California, an experienced group of law librarian advocates worked closely with Uniform Law Commissioner and Legislative Counsel of California Diane Boyer-Vine to ensure enactment.  Each story is different and some of these stories are collected at Local Advocacy Networks: Adopting UELMA in Your State and How You Can Help, by Catherine M. Dunn, Head of Reference Services at the University of Connecticut School of Law Library. There are wonderful resources at the GRO’s UELMA Resources page. AALL has also posted case studies about the Colorado and California experiences written by me and Michele Finerty, Assistant Director for Technical Services at the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

Which states have enacted UELMA so far? In order of enactment: Colorado, California, Minnesota, North Dakota, Hawai’i, Oregon, Connecticut and Nevada.

Bills to enact UELMA are pending in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania. For more details on dates of passage, and the status of pending bills, go to the American Association of Law Libraries’ Government Relations Office website, the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act Bill Chart, at http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/UELMA/uelmabilltrack2013.pdf.

If your state has not already passed UELMA, think about getting involved as an advocate. You can contact AALL’s Government Relations Office or your local law library chapter. A few people can really make a difference!