Articles Posted in Legislation

Published on:

As you may know, the U.S. Copyright Office had approved an allowance for consumers to unlock their cellphones, as part of a triennial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) rulemaking process, and consumers rejoiced. Fast forward to the renewal of that exception only to find that the exception was closed up in this year’s rulemaking.

Many folks are upset about this, and a recent bill could fix the situation.  The Unlocking Technology Act would allow users to unlock their cell phones, without the need to go through the triennial hearing process.

PopVox, at the moment is running an 83% support to a 17% oppose, but with a base of less than 100 voters. What do you think?

https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/hr1892

 

 

 

Published on:

Sherwin Sly, over at Public Knowledge, distills the testimony from last week’s Congressional hearing on copyright reform here. Personal note – it could be devastating for libraries if the library copyright provision is repealed. Libraries rely both on the specific exception (Sect. 108) and the general contours of Fair Use.  The specific exception allows some measure of certainty under limited conditions.

http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/what-expect-todays-copyright-reform-hearing

 

Published on:

Congressional recording available from the May 16 hearing on the Copyright Principles Project.  You may need to move the play button pretty far in to get to it.

Here are the details:

A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project

Thursday 5/16/2013 – 2:00 p.m.

Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet

2141 Rayburn House Office Building

Witness List

Mr. Jon Baumgarten
 Former General Counsel Copyright Office (1976 – 1979) 

Professor Laura Gasaway
 University of North Carolina School of Law

Professor Daniel J. Gervais
 Vanderbilt University School of Law

Professor Pamela Samuelson
 University of California Berkeley School of Law

Mr. Jule Sigall
 Assistant General Counsel for Copyright Microsoft Corporation


Chairman Goodlatte:
  This afternoon we will hear from several participants in the Copyright Principles Project who collectively have worked on or studied copyright issues for decades. They have also traveled here from all over the United States and I thank them for their willingness to be here today.Watch Webcast

By Direction of the Chairman

Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Hearing on “A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project”

Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte
Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet
Hearing on “A Case Study for Consensus Building: The Copyright Principles Project”

Copyright is a fundamental economic principle enshrined in our Constitution. It has become a core part of our economy and society in ways the framers of our Constitution could never have imagined. The ways in which creators could express themselves when the Constitution was written were very limited. Photography, musical recordings, film, and software did not arrive for decades, if not centuries, afterwards. Even many of these creations have changed significantly as digital technologies made the creation of content more diversified. Digital technologies have also enabled wider distribution to occur -local artists can have a global reach. The passion and skills of our nation’s creators have enhanced our society and culture. Creators deserve our support and respect.

Despite rapidly changing technologies and business models since the enactment of the 1976 Copyright Act, there appear to have been few efforts to bring together parties from different perspectives to discuss how the 1976 Act has worked as technology and business models evolve. There have certainly been short-term events where interested parties spoke for a few minutes each about the latest technology or the latest court decision. What has been lacking is something broader in perspective.

What impressed me about the Copyright Principles Project was not its report or even on what issues its participants were able to agree or disagree. In fact, the Committee does not endorse the specific recommendations and findings of the report. However, we do want to highlight that its participants with strongly held views on copyright law, many of which were in direct opposition to each other, committed to spending three years together in an effort to productively discuss copyright issues. The Committee has invited five of the participants here today as an example of how people with divergent views on copyright law can productively debate a range of copyright issues. Their written testimony highlights the fact that they are all here this afternoon, certainly not speaking with one voice, but speaking with a recognition that the person next to them at the witness table has just as much right to advocate their position on copyright law as they do.

This Judiciary Committee is no stranger to policy issues on which opinions vary widely. This hearing room has, and is continuing, to debate numerous policy issues in which there are sharp disagreements. There were of course sharp disagreements on the 1976 Copyright Act that we use today and whose hearing record in the Committee journals is before me.

Since announcing my interest in a comprehensive review of copyright law several weeks ago, a variety of interested parties began identifying their specific areas of interest that they wanted to see reviewed. I appreciate their input and I look forward to working with all interested parties. We should not be in a rush to focus on specific issues without first recognizing the fundamentals of copyright and the social and economic benefits that copyright brings to our economy. It is my intention to conduct this broad overview by hearing from everyone interested in copyright law as we begin by holding hearings on important fundamentals before we begin to look at more specific issues.

There are numerous questions that will be raised by interested parties during this review. I have several myself including:

How do we measure the success of copyright and what metrics are used?
How do we ensure that everyone’s voice is heard?
How is copyright working for individual artists?
How is copyright working for our nation’s economy?

These are only a few of the issues we will be looking into. This review of copyright law will not be a quick process simply because the issues are so numerous. However, we must undertake this review to ensure that copyright law continues to incentivize creativity and innovation in the digital age.

 

Published on:

You probably know that the Register of Copyrights testified before Congress last month that we need a new copyright act.  [See The Register’s Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet (3/20/13) Related Lecture  View Webcast Part 1 | Webcast Part 2]

You probably have also noticed the erosion of First Sale as we live more and more in the land of digital. Witness the Redigi decision that said that even if you forward and delete, you can infringe copyright. That’s because you need to make a copy for sending before you delete your original.

You may also live in the real world where everyone is remixing digital content, yet the uncertainty that accompanies these creative efforts can be stifling to those that are aware of copyright penalties.

To that end, it is important to speak out and say what you need in the Next Great Copyright Act. Read the short petition below, and if you agree with it, sign it. If you know of communities that would sign, please forward. There’s a short deadline to get this out by May 14th.  If you don’t have a White House account, you can create one very easily.

http://tinyurl.com/recastcopyright

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

Recast copyright law for the digital era. It’s time to regain public respect with laws that make sense.

The public disregards copyright law because it is out of sync with the digital age. We want the right to resell digital content (ebooks, etc.) that we’ve paid for. We need transparency in the marketplace to understand what rights we have.

Additionally, as responsible creators we need to be able to freely remix existing music and other forms of creative expression to create new works without undue fear of prosecution. This upholds the original Constitutional purpose of copyright, which is to promote progress.

This will nurture the process of innovation and the sharing of our culture. The language of the existing copyright law must be changed to accommodate the way information is being created and consumed in our digital world.