Items tagged "Copyright Office"

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The CASE Act: Small Claims, Big Risks

November 7, 2017 Copyright , Copyright Office , Copyright Reform , Ligitation , Small Claims

It’s almost axiomatic that independent artists face unique difficulties in the digital environment. Unlicensed commercial use of creative works is not uncommon, and the money that those uses theoretically represent in unpaid licensing fees can be substantial. So it’s understandable that artists would push for a system that makes it cheaper and easier for them to recover royalties for infringements of their copyrights.

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The Consequences of Regulatory Capture at the Copyright Office

September 8, 2016 Copyright , Copyright Office , Copyright Reform

Today, Public Knowledge released a report examining the role of regulatory capture—both its sources and its consequences—at the U.S. Copyright Office.

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The Growing List of How the Copyright Office Has Failed Us

August 8, 2016 Copyright , Copyright Office , Copyright Reform , Unlock the Box

As we’ve been talking about recently, the Copyright Office has a long history of being bad at its job, and misrepresenting the law it’s charged with understanding. Anyone familiar with tech policy already knows about the debacle that is the exemption process under Section 1201, but it doesn’t end there. Aside from its seemingly never-ending quest to accumulate more power by pulling non-copyright issues under its umbrella, the Office pushes wildly expansive interpretations of copyright law–asserting rights that don’t exist, interpreting consumer safeguards so narrowly as to render them useless, preventing consumers from using assistive technologies, creating “solutions” that nobody asked for, and otherwise making bizarre proclamations that completely ignore relevant facts and law. Over and over again, the Copyright Office bends over backwards to align its positions with the lobbying agendas of the big entertainment conglomerates.

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Not the Agency You’re Looking For: The Copyright Office’s Misguided Antitrust Adventure

July 25, 2016 Antitrust , ASCAP , BMI , Copyright , Copyright Office

The increasing frequency with which the Copyright Office has inserted itself into policy debates raises questions about the scope of its expertise and authority. An illustrative example of how the Office’s opinions can cause problems occurred earlier this year. During the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division inquiry into how performance rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI license songs with multiple authors where not every author is a member of the PRO (i.e., where either PRO represents only a ‘fraction’ of the ownership stake in the song), a member of Congress sought out the opinion of the Copyright Office, and the Office responded. Although it’s unremarkable for an agency to offer its opinion in response to a lawmaker request, it is remarkable for that agency to reach into unfamiliar areas of law, ignore basic public policy concerns in that area of law, and offer its own unqualified judgment on matters properly within the jurisdiction of another agency.

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Notes From Today’s Hearing: The Register’s Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law

March 21, 2013 Copyright Office , DMCA , Enforcement , First Sale , Internet Blueprint

Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights (and thus, head of the Copyright Office) was the sole witness in a hearing today with an ambitious title: “The Register’s Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law.” (An archived copy of the hearing is here) Her testimony provides a guide to the sorts of changes she thinks are necessary in the coming years.

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Cell Phone Unlocking: The Root of the Problem (and Solution) is in Copyright

March 5, 2013 Copyright Office , DMCA , DRM , Internet Blueprint

Yesterday, the White House responded to a We the People petition on phone unlocking, stating that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones and tablets. This puts the administration in line with a large number of consumers who are upset that the Library of Congress refused to exempt phone unlocking (modifying phone software so consumers can use their phones with a different mobile phone company) from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA.”)

However, the White House statement doesn’t reverse the Library’s decision, and nothing in the statement seems to suggest that it plans to.

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Will the White House Explain why Copyright Laws are Privileging Cell Phone Companies?

February 22, 2013 Anti-circumvention , Competition , Copyright Office , DRM , Handset Exclusivity

So 100,000 of you (and counting) are as puzzled as we are as to why copyright laws such as the DMCA should prevent people from keeping their existing phones when they switch phone companies. By hitting that threshold of signatures several days before the 30-day deadline, the petition should generate a response from the White House.

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Secret Bill Pushes Part of SOPA and Wastes Your Money

July 10, 2012 Copyright Office , SOPA

A mere 5 months after SOPA and PIPA met their very public demise, a new intellectual property enforcement bill is on the fast track through the House Judiciary Committee.  The bill, which was largely secret until a day before it was scheduled to be marked up, is an attempt to revive an idea that was killed as part of SOPA earlier this year.  In addition to being a surprising attempt to develop intellectual property (IP) legislation in secret again, it highlights a phenomenal waste of taxpayer resources.  After all, what is going to improve our copyright system more: international IP attaches or being able to look up who actually owns a copyright?

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Warner Bros. Embarrasses Self, Everyone, With New “Disc-to-Digital” Program

March 5, 2012 Copyright Office , DMCA , Fair Use , Piracy

In an announcement that was either an inspired piece of Yes Men-esque performance art or a stunning example of corporate myopia, last week Warner Home Entertainment Group President Kevin Tsujihara discussed a new DVD digitization service called “disc-to-digital.” The program, which would have merely been ill-advised had it been announced ten years ago, today stands as a testament to the ability of movie studios to blind themselves to reality.

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Public Knowledge Responds To Movie Industry On DVD Copying

March 2, 2012 Copyright Office , Press Release

Public Knowledge today submitted close to 400 comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in support of PK’s petition that consumers be able to copy DVDs they lawfully own onto devices they also own.

The comments were submitted in the reply round of comments the Copyright Office seeks every three years on whether there should be exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

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