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Recent Fair Uses

December 5, 2005 Blog Posts , Fair Use , Policy Blog

I had been wanting to remark on a specific fair use study(beware of PDF) earlier last week, but never got around to it. Thankfully, Tim Lee on has a to the point post on the Technology Liberation Front.

But while I'm on the fair use subject, I should point out a great post by Donna Wentworth on Corante. It covers a number of ongoing fair use quibbles.

One more: The Free Expression Policy Project at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School just put out their study entitled, "Will Fair Use Survive?". You can find the full PDF here. Of course, feel free to quote it, make limited copies or excerpts of it to criticize and discuss it, and make personal, non-commercial copies of it–it's your right!

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A More Functional TiVo Scares NBC?

November 29, 2005 Blog Posts , Fair Use , Policy Blog

In case you haven't heard, TiVo recently said that it would be making the content that its users record available to Apple iPods and Sony PSPs. Pretty cool! It's not exactly anything new–especially since it's been a basic feature of Windows Media Center, ReplayTV since their inception, and more recently Dishnetwork's "pocketdish" devices. Regardless, the ability to watch the content that you've otherwise legally obtained on a portable device is a welcome future upgrade.

So what's with NBC? In a recent Variety article, they said:

"TiVo appears to be acting unilaterally, disregarding established rights of content owners to participate in decisions regarding the distribution and exploitation of their content. This unilateral action creates the risk of legal conflict instead of contributing to the constructive exploitation of digital technology that can rapidly provide new and exciting experiences for the consumer."

Quite a reaction! Since when do copyright owners have the right to tell me when and where I watch the TV I've recorded? I don't think it's been since the Sony Betamax case that we've fought over this issue. Are we really calling personal copying to a portable device "distribution?" If so, doesn't the same go for copying CDs to iPods, or any of the other TV recording systems I referenced above?

Why not look at it as a marketing opportunity, as Warner Bros. reportedly did:

"In addition to focusing on the legal issues, it's also important to focus on the fact that consumers are saying this is the kind of thing they want. We're excited about the fact that people are buying portable devices and are looking for video content on them. It's potentially a huge market for us."

How refreshing! Considering what consumers want. Of course, this isn't the first we've heard of this kind of pro-consumer attitude in recent weeks.

As far as I know, NBC hasn't taken any action against TiVo, and it's possible that the above statement was just the rhetoric of an uninformed individual. Just the same, those statements don't help policy makers form better conclusions.

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So much done, So little time

November 29, 2005 Blog Posts , Broadcast Flag , Fair Use , Network Neutrality , Policy Blog

Well, there's been a brief hiatus on the Policy Blog, and that's because we've actually been pretty busy at PK. Here's a quick rundown of what we've been up to:

  • Testifying on the Broadcast Flag: Gigi's first hearing in November was on the broadcast flag, HD-radio protection, and closing the analog hole. Read more about the hearing here, our press release here, and Gigi's testimony here.

  • Telecom Rewrite process: I've told you about our Open Broadband white paper previously. We've been working with others to voice concern about issues like net neutrality in the rewrite of the '96 Telecommunications Act. There was a House Telecommunications Subcommittee hearing on Nov. 9, and this is what we had to say about the hearing and the latest staff draft.

  • DOJ Copyright Proposals: Seemingly out of the blue, the Department of Justice released its recommendations on how copyright law could be "improved" to aid their enforcement efforts. While PK believes in strong copyright enforcement, we disagree with the suggested changes by the DOJ. Here's what we had to say about it.

  • Testifying on Fair Use: Gigi's second hearing of November was on the fair use doctrine of copyright law. The hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Gigi's oral and written testimony are on our website, and you can view the webcast from the subcommittee's website.

  • Follow-up Letter: As a follow-up to the fair use hearing, Chairman Stearns asked us to provide him with list of examples of consumer uses that are prohibited by the DMCA. We sent him that letter on Nov. 21, providing examples from Gigi's testimony and some important others.

Whew, quite a month! Rest assured, new posts are coming!

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Public Knowledge’s President Reacts to Peer-to-Peer Self-Help Bill

July 25, 2002 Fair Use , News & Analysis , Press Release

While enforcing the Copyright Act and preventing copyright infringement are worthy goals, Representative Berman's Peer-to-Peer Self-Help bill goes too far. Rep. Berman's bill gives the content industry great latitude to engage in harmful behavior that could affect lawful consumer activities, as well as unlawful behavior.

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