Comments of New Media Rights to the Request for Comments on Department of Commerce Green Paper, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy
35 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2015
Date Written: August 14, 2014
When it comes to domestic copyright legislation for the digital age, things really haven’t changed much since the implementation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) in 1998. While the legislation hasn’t changed, our creative world certainly has. In 1998, how many of us envisioned the world of remixers and independent creators producing content of a quality once reserved for the Hollywood elite? How many of us would have imagined the creation of a license, like Creative Commons, aimed at allowing users to share their work in unprecedented ways? How many of us thought that ordinary people would be using this new technology to create and share everything from mundane pictures of meals at restaurants to the extraordinary live tweeting of the Arab Spring? The cultural and communications landscape has changed dramatically since 1998. The evolution of our creative culture and the way we communicate deserves a corresponding evolution of copyright law.
This reform need not, and should not, take the form of any radical evisceration of copyright. At the same time, reform should not be used as an opportunity to continue unreasonable expansion of copyright law without concern for the collateral damage it causes to artistic progress, freedom of speech, and the intellectual enrichment of the public. Rather, much like one would tend to a garden, it is time we examine our current copyright law, remove the old weeds of law that no longer serve us, and plant the seeds of new law that will help to foster a new generation of artists and creators.
In these comments, New Media Rights addresses three of the most compelling areas of copyright reform presented in the Greenpaper. First, these comments address five key copyright law problems that need to be solved to help remix creators spend their time creating rather than fighting legal disputes. Second, we discourage the widespread implementation of intermediary licensing modeled off YouTube’s Content ID system because it is not, in fact, an intermediary licensing system. We also explain the implementation of such a system could be incredibly detrimental to users’ rights largely due to the lack of an effective appeals process and various design challenges in the system. Finally, we address the Department of Commerce’s question regarding how best to go about fashioning a multistakeholder process that would create a working set of best practices for the DMCA. We hope that our comments in these three areas will spark discussion and encourage badly needed copyright reform for the digital age.
Keywords: copyright, remix, DMCA, law, fair use
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation