• The Rebellious Pixels Chain of Takedowns

    By Claudia Rebaza on Pondělí, 14 January 2013 - 12:42dop.
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    Last week remix artist Jonathan McIntosh had a troubling story to tell which put a spotlight on the current problems facing transformative works creators. In our current environment of automated copyright claims and the layers of entities users may have to go through to assert fair use rights, it takes real dedication sometimes to be heard.

    McIntosh's work, Buffy vs. Edward, is a well known video which has, as he cites in his post, been used on numerous occasions in academic settings. It is also among the Test Suite of Fair Use Vids that the OTW assembled as part of their successful case for a renewal of the DMCA exemption for vidders.

    McIntosh details months of effort to get his video reinstated which would, ironically, have been much simpler had he been making an effort to profit from the video. It was because ad placements have been disabled on his account that he was targeted by a subcontractor for Lionsgate, MovieClips, to either permit them or have the video deleted. Yet as a matter of U.S. copyright law, the non-commercial nature of Jonathan's video bolsters its status as copyright fair use.

    Though his video was eventually reinstated, it’s striking how much effort McIntosh had to put into dealing with the problem. Jonathan's video has been cited by the U.S. Copyright Office as an example of transformative fair use, yet he has had to defend it from numerous attacks and accusations. For every artist like him who is very familiar with the law and is willing to fight for his rights again and again, how many people are simply seeing their work disappear?

    This is one of the reasons we can see chilling effects, especially since this situation is a reminder that even clear cases of fair use aren’t safe from this kind of action. In fact, it appears that the video that was the subject of Lenz v. Universal, the case that established that copyright holders have to consider whether something is fair use before sending a DMCA take down notice, has once again been removed due to a copyright claim –- and this was a video which has already been litigated and determined to be fair use.

    The OTW wants to remind fans that its legal advocacy project is a possible resource for someone who finds themselves in a situation where their work has received takedown notices, and offers recommendations for vidders in particular on our Fan Video and Multimedia section of our website.

  • OTW at the Library of Congress for DMCA

    By .fcoppa on Čtvrtek, 7 June 2012 - 1:59 odpoledne
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    Legal chair Rebecca Tushnet and Vidding committee members Francesca Coppa and Tisha Turk testified at the Library of Congress's Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) hearings on June 4, 2012 in favor of a renewal and expansion of the DMCA exemption for Noncommercial Remixers (like vidders and other fan video makers.) Rebecca Tushnet has been liveblogging all the hearings, including the OTW's testimony, and Tisha Turk is putting her notes and recollections online as well. You can also find copies of our Reply Comment as well as our various exhibits - our revised Test Suite and an Image Gallery comparing DVD-ripped and screen-captured images-- linked from our Legal Advocacy page.

  • DMCA Update

    By .fcoppa on Neděle, 4 March 2012 - 12:47dop.
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    On March 2, 2012, the OTW's legal team filed a Reply Comment (PDF) in support of the EFF's petition to the Library of Congress to renew the DMCA exemption for noncommercial remixers, such as vidders. Special thanks to Legal Committee members Rachael Vaughn and Rebecca Tushnet for their work, as well as to all the fans who helped us explain why high quality clips are important to vidding and why remix matters!

    Next stop: testifying in DC. We'll keep you posted!

  • Links roundup for 24 February 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Pátek, 24 February 2012 - 7:25 odpoledne
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    Here's a roundup of stories on commodification of fandom that might be of interest to fans:

    • The TV series Chuck's demise was covered by various media outlets but NPR focused on the fandom. "Chuck's life and death speaks in surprisingly potent ways to how television is changing" writes Linda Holmes. "More than anything, Chuck is a story about the rise of the fan. Not only because the show has organized devotees — that's not new." Rather it was that "Chuck fans, in their businesslike enthusiasm, sold themselves as a product."
    • A review of the recent novel Convent says that while it "skewers just about every aspect of organized fandom and the publishing industry (sometimes literally) there’s rarely any meanness in it, more like family poking fun at a favorite — if slightly strange — uncle. ConVent is just great fun, a laugh riot from beginning to end and largely drawn from real-life experiences at cons." There is also a sequel planned.
    • An article about a controversial YouTube user focused on how the DMCA is being utilized, not just by entertainment entities attempting to control use of their products, but also the "growing use of copyright claims as a cudgel against enemies and rivals." The misuse of the law can also hurt artists. "Last September, one person falsely claimed copyright over music videos by Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. It took hours for the videos to be restored. And that was an unusually fast response. It can normally take days or weeks for YouTube to restore a video —- and that’s if the person who posted it responds with a counterclaim against the original DMCA request. Nearly 8,000 YouTubers have signed a petition calling on Google to reform how it handles DMCA notices.""
    • By contrast, Portals is a music blog collective of sixteen bloggers raising money through Kickstarter to help artists. They describe the site as ""a daily destination for MP3s, videos, mixes, interviews, artist's writings, and cultural commentary -- curated for quality, and with an emphasis on emerging artists and musical movements that best exemplify the new grassroots, Internet-fueled DIY."" But one of the writers "balked at the idea of wielding "influence" over a readership" explaining "I'm not trying to become more influential. I guess the goal of expanding who we're reaching is something, but I don't want anyone to listen to something because I said so. I just want to let as many people know it exists as I can. I want these bands I think are amazing to at least have the chance to be heard. I just don't think influence is the right word.""

    If you are a fan of Chuck, are a music fan, use YouTube, or attend cons why not contribute to Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

    Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Show Your Support for the Right to Remix

    By .fcoppa on Neděle, 29 January 2012 - 1:04dop.
    Message type:

    --written by Rachael Vaughn, OTW Legal Committee

    Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything is a Remix, is standing up for the right to create remix videos. Although the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions granted in 2010 helped clear some legal hurdles for vidders and other remix artists, these exemptions will expire if not renewed. The OTW is currently working with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to urge the Copyright Office to maintain and reasonably expand the 2010 exemptions. Specifically, OTW and EFF have asked that the Copyright Office protect the right to extract clips from DVDs and other digital sources like Amazon Unbox for the purpose of making non-commercial videos that constitute fair use under US copyright law.

    The next step involves the Copyright Office soliciting comments from the public about the proposed exemptions and holding a series of hearings. This is where you can help. OTW and EFF need comments from fans, vidders, remix artists, and others who have a stake in seeing the exemptions granted. You can show your support for the right to remix by...

    1. Signing Kevin's Rip.Mix.Make petition; and/or

    2. Submitting comments as described in this post from EFF.

    Comments are due by February 10, 2012 at 5 PM Eastern Time so don't delay!

  • Links roundup for 6 January 2012

    By Claudia Rebaza on Pátek, 6 January 2012 - 5:12 odpoledne
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    Here's a roundup of stories on intellectual property issues that might be of interest to fans:

    • Last month reported that in a countrywide effort, police in Japan "arrested 30 people on suspicion of using file-sharing software" calling it "the largest simultaneous enforcement by the Japanese police against illegal uploaders ever." Tech entrepreneur Andy Baio concluded that young voters may be key to changing the criminalization of remix culture, and dubbed the current efforts against "piracy" as a new Prohibition. Certainly industries that have a stranglehold on entertainment distribution are able to keep increasing costs to fans and the effects are not limited to the young. A pop music critic writing about the rising cost of rock fandom noted "I’d love to continue the path I’ve been following since early adolescence, when my full membership in the rock-lover’s club began. But I’m just not sure I can afford it anymore."
    • The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently filed exemption requests to the DMCA which "asked for legal protections for artists and critics who use excerpts from DVDs or downloading services to create new, remixed works." These exemptions build on and expand exemptions that EFF won last year. "In drafting the requests, EFF had the invaluable assistance of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Organization for Transformative Works."
    • A post at TorrentFreak discovered illegal downloading being done by employees at major studios such as Sony, Universal, and FOX. "We aren’t the only ones to come up with the idea of revealing the BitTorrent habits of copyright advocates. Yesterday, the Dutch blog Geenstijl exposed how someone at the local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra downloaded a copy of the TV-show Entourage and video game Battlefield 3." The company's response suggested that their IP-addresses were spoofed, an unlikely but welcome explanation since "if it’s so easy to spoof an IP-address, then accused file-sharers can use this same defense against copyright holders."
    • To those interested in learning more about these issues some recent book reviews noted fans' stake in the discussion. The Times Higher Education in the UK discussed Fan Fiction and Copyright: Outsider Works and Intellectual Property Protection (citing the OTW's Rebecca Tushnet) and The Learned Fangirl reviewed Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back.

    If you are interested in intellectual property issues such as fair use and the DMCA why not contribute to Fanlore? Additions are welcome from all fans.

    We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, event, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent Links Roundup — on, LJ, or DW — or give @OTW_News a shoutout on Twitter. Links are welcome in all languages!

    Submitting a link doesn't guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn't mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

  • Extending the DMCA Exemption for Noncommercial Remixers

    By .fcoppa on Pátek, 23 December 2011 - 7:19 odpoledne
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    Legal and vidding committee members Rebecca Tushnet, Rachael Vaughn and Francesca Coppa have collaborated with the EFF on a proposal (download the .pdf) to the Library of Congress to renew and extend the DMCA exemption for Noncommercial Remixers. The current exemption gives noncommercial remix artists - like fan video artists and political remixers - the right to rip DVDs, breaking their encryption, for the purpose of making a fair use video, and the request covers that as well as using sources like Amazon Unbox where material isn't available on DVD.

    The papers were filed December 1, 2011 and contain statements from and interviews with a number of fans - so thank you everyone who told us their stories!

    The OTW will be sending representatives to Washington in the early part of next year to testify in favor of these exemptions, so stay tuned for more news.

    Lastly, those of you interested in fan vidding might be interested in this documentary by Abigail Christensen.

  • DMCA Exemption Proposal - Video Makers, We Need YOU!

    By .fcoppa on Neděle, 30 October 2011 - 6:54 odpoledne
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    The OTW's Legal and Vidding Committees have started working on the renewal of our hard-won exemption to the US DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act)'s provisions on digital rights management for noncommercial remixers--and we need your help! If you vid or make other forms of fan video by ripping DVDs or Blueray discs; if you rip footage from a streaming service like Hulu, Itunes Streaming, or Amazon Unbox, please get in touch! You don't have to use your real name: Depending on your choice, we can describe you using your pseudonym or as "a vidder" or "a fan filmmaker." We are trying to compile stories of how fans work and what they need to make their fanworks.

    We are seeking your own words about:
    (1) Why vidding is a transformative and creative act;
    (2) Why you need to circumvent (rip) DVDs or other sources such as Blu-Ray, Amazon Unbox, Hulu, or YouTube--we are particularly interested in cases where you were only able to find a copy of the source at one of the online services because the source wasn't available on DVD;
    (3) Whether you've tried screen capture software and how it worked for you;
    (4) Whether you could make use of the "alternative" proposed by the MPAA, which is that you set up a separate camera to record your screen as it plays the source;
    (5) Why high-quality source is important to you, whether your reasons are technical or aesthetic or something else;
    (6) Anything else you think we ought to know as we work with the EFF to put together our request!

    So please contact Francesca Coppa directly (fcoppa at transformativeworks dot org) or use the Vidding committee webform.

    The OTW works hard to engage with and influence the US laws regarding fair use not only to help fans in the US or who use US-based services, but because we are aware that these laws have a ripple effect all over the world. For example, in South Korea, there was a huge crackdown on online copyrighted content as a result of a fair trade agreement with the U.S., and US policymakers are pushing these other countries to enact laws that are even harsher and don't provide for exemptions the way that the US's own domestic law does. Strong DMCA exemptions help send the message that such a system doesn't work for the US and wouldn't be a good idea elsewhere either. (We are interested in hearing from non-US vidders with answers to the questions above too!)

  • October Drive - Celebrating our Legal Advocacy

    By .allison morris on Čtvrtek, 21 October 2010 - 7:14 odpoledne
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    2010 has been a banner year for the OTW's Legal team, most notably for their role in securing a Digital Millenium Copyright Act exemption for noncommercial video remixers including vidders, anime music video makers, and makers of documentary films. Before this ruling, only film professors were given an exemption from the DMCA's prohibition against DVD ripping.

    This expanded exemption is emblematic of the work of the OTW legal team and the OTW's commitment to legal advocacy for fans and fanworks by supporting fair use and communicating the message that fanworks are creative, transformative, and have cultural value. Your financial backing of the OTW supports these legal efforts and more. It makes the statement that fanworks and fan creativity matter.

    Help us continue to provide a legal voice for fandom by supporting the OTW!

  • DMCA Follow-up Answers

    By .allison morris on Středa, 1 September 2010 - 3:48 odpoledne
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    A number of bright and beautiful questions cropped up after we posted about the DMCA Exemption for Vidders. We've gathered up the handiest discussion, for clarification on what this ruling will mean for the community.

    Our position: Fanvids are critical commentary

    For the purpose of vidding, critical is a synonym for analytical, in the sense of constructing a "reading" of the source text. A shipper vid--one that celebrates the love between two characters, or creates a deeper relationship between them, or emphasizes the relationship between them, or sometimes even constructs it out of almost nothing--is a reading of the text that changes how you see it, or re-prioritizes the values of the original. Slash is almost always a critical reading, and implicitly a political one. Lots of vids are about emphasizing characters who aren't central, giving them their own screen time, making them the main character for three minutes. All of these are making critical commentary in the sense of making an analytical reading!

    The Copyright Office did not rule that any particular vid was a fair use; however, it cited a number of vids as examples of the kinds of remix that are likely to constitute fair use.

    The Exemption doesn't cover music

    While the ruling isn't about music, it is still really important: it means that copyright holders can't use the DMCA to stop a fair use defense before it's out of the gate. Vis a vis YouTube and private companies, they will always be permitted to have their own rules: they can decide that they won't host vids that have a lot of green in them. But that doesn't make green vids illegal, and it doesn't make vids illegal either.

    Are ripped clips legal?

    Under the exemption, it does not violate the DMCA to rip clips from DVDs that you lawfully acquire for the purpose of making a noncommercial remix as long as you reasonably believe that you need to rip in order to get clips of the necessary quality. Once you have the clips, what you do with them, such as posting your vid online, is governed by fair use. If you're asking about services like YouTube, etc.: they are private companies who can make their own rules: they can decide not to host anything they don't want to host. We are hoping that this ruling will cause them to relax a bit about their own rules, but it's important to note that this is not the same thing as illegal.

    What does this mean for copyright, fair use, and vids on YouTube?

    Private companies like YouTube can take things down for whatever reasons they want, and they mostly claim to be complying with copyright, though sometimes it's that they literally don't want to bother to make the distinction between a fair use and just a pirated copy of something (likely to be less fair, though there are some arguments for straight copying as having some fair uses also). So most of the time, if you actually make a person see a vid, they agree that it's a fair use: YouTube takedowns are mostly done by computer, now, and computers can't tell the difference (or can't yet: the EFF has made some good suggestions for reprogramming computers so that they can tell the difference between a transformative work and a straight up clip).


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