Last Week in Tech Policy #44: Streaming Killed the Video Star

(by Andrew Manley, Colorado Law 2L)

Recently, more and more Americans are intent on “cutting the cord”—dropping traditional cable and satellite TV services for internet-based streaming services. The growing availability of internet streaming services that provide linear streams of content is making cutting the cord more accessible and more affordable. Services like Sony’s Playstation Vue and Dish Network’s Sling TV offer subscribers streaming video service over the internet that resembles cable service in many ways, and even provide local content streams in certain markets. AT&T and DirecTV have a similar service in the works. However, these services do not fit neatly into the FCC’s regulatory regime for Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs). Three specific cases have exposed the gaps in regulatory coverage for internet protocol based linear video services: Sky Angel, ivi, and Aereo.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #43: The Educational Materials Copyright Debate

(By Lindsay Bombalski, PhD, Colorado Law 2L)

For those not involved in the publication of scientific papers, it may come as a surprise that once a new scientific finding is published in a scientific journal it often becomes the intellectual property of that journal. Access to the article describing the finding is usually available in three ways:

  1. By purchasing an individual or institutional license through the journal;
  2. Purchasing individual articles after reading the abstract through various search engines; or
  3. Finding the article in a version of the publication that is open-access.

Individual licenses often run around $500/annually for access to up to 250 articles in up to 25 journals with the purchase of a scientific membership—for example, though the American Chemical Society. Institutional agreements can run as high as $25,000 per journal. Alternatively, individual articles can be purchased for $32-$60.

For a student researcher at a university that does not receive funding for journal subscriptions, this means a paper with a reference list of 30 citations from the same journal could require on the order of $600 in subscriptions or $960 in individual payments in order to pass a peer-reviewer in the examination prior to publication. For real articles, the cost can be even higher because many more articles need to be accessed to develop the science in a new article. These figures make clear that the cost of scientific literature research—on top of the cost of materials, chemicals, equipment, and measurements devices makes scientific research—can be out of reach.

A new web site called Sci-Hub was created to lower the cost of educational scientific materials. Sci-Hub, in turn, has raised significant debate about open access to scientific materials and related intellectual property issues.

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Last Week in Tech Policy #40: Copyright Reform and the Copyright Office

(by Lindsey Knapton, Colorado Law 2L)

Copyright Week Logo[Editor’s note: This post is our contribution to Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what’s at stake.]

In the weeks leading up to President-elect Trump’s inauguration, little has been said about where he stands on copyright reform. For clues on copyright reform that may materialize in the coming months, some observers have turned to the House Judiciary Committee’s Reform of the U.S. Copyright Office Report, released on December 8, 2016, which outlines potential copyright policy priorities for the 115th Congress:

  1. Restructuring the Copyright Office as an administrative agency;
  2. Creating Copyright Office advisory committees;
  3. Upgrading information technology within the Copyright Office; and
  4. Creating a copyright small claims system.

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TLPC Releases White Paper on Intellectual Property Issues at the FCC

In this white paper, TLPC student attorneys Colter Donahue and J. Parker Ragland outline steps that the FCC can take to avoid having rulemakings and other policymaking initiatives delayed or negatively affected by intellectual property issues. In recent years, the Commission has faced several situations, including in the context of 9-1-1 services, telecommunications relay services, and set-top boxes, where intellectual property issues have arisen and affected proceedings. The white paper urges the Commission to develop adequate expertise in intellectual property law and to proactively anticipate and address IP issues to avoid these situations in the future.

Last Week in Tech Policy Vol. 26: Fair Play, Fair Pay?

(by Molly Hogan, Colorado Law 3L)

Many of our discussions about the different aspects of technology law involve evolving technologies and how antiquated laws can be applied to situations that their drafters could not have fathomed. This week, I wanted to bring it back to discuss a debate surrounding a technology that is over 100 years old: the radio.

Despite the coming and going of records, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, and now MP3s and beyond, music fans have long been able to rely on the AM/FM radio to hear new music and old classics. Unbeknownst to most listeners is the fact that those artists whose songs play on the radio are not receiving copyright royalties for the airplay.

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TLPC Testifies at Copyright Office DMCA Section 1201 Hearings

Last week, the TLPC testified at several hearings (PDF) in favor of our proposed exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We’ve linked below to various pictures and coverage of the hearing. Congratulations to the many TLPC students who took part!

TLPC Files Security Research DMCA Exemption Reply Comments

(by Chelsea E.  Brooks,  Student Attorney, Joseph N. de Raismes, Student Attorney, Andy J. Sayler, Student Technologist)

Today, we filed a Reply Comment in response to public comments on our  Long Comment for Class 25 (Security Research) on behalf of our client Professor Matthew Green.  The proceeding (and objectors’ comments) can be found at the Copyright Office’s DMCA Section 1201 Tri-annual Exemption Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

As we discussed in our previous blog post on the subject, this project seeks an exemption to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions for good-faith security research.  Our Reply Comment responds to a variety of issued raised in the second round of the proceeding by public commenters including manufacturers and trade groups in automobile, medical device, software, and related industries. In our Reply Comment, we focus on how objectors comments are textbook examples of the adverse effects of Section 1201 chilling good-faith security research, and push back against the suggestion that an exemption should include a mandatory disclosure standard.

Next up in the proceeding is a hearing on May 26, 2015 In Washington, DC where student technologist Andy Sayler will be a witness along with the clinic director, Blake Reid, and our client, Professor Matthew Green.

TLPC Briefs Copyright Office with Reply Comments on E-book Accessibility DMCA Exemption

Today, the TLPC, the American Foundation for the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, the Library Copyright Alliance, and the American Association of People with Disabilities filed reply comments at the U.S. Copyright Office requesting a renewal of the exemption to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act aimed at  making e-books more accessible to people who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled and authorized entities. If renewed, the exemption would increase access to literary works and educational resources for people who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled.

Take a look at the long-form comment attached here, and stay tuned for the Copyright Office’s decision later this year.

E-book Accessibility Reply Comments

Last Week in Tech Law and Policy, Vol. 14: Piracy and File Leakage in the Digital Age

(by Conor Stewartson, TLPC Student Attorney)

As spring approaches, millions of fans of Game of Thrones, HBO’s most successful television program, become anxious with anticipation for yet another season of the television adaptation of the critically acclaimed book series.  Season 5 of GoT was scheduled for simultaneous release on April 12th in 170 countries across the globe in order to decrease the historically high piracy rates that the show experiences.

The efforts by HBO were made at least partially moot on Saturday when the first four episodes of the season were leaked online.  Over 1.7 million copies of these episodes were downloaded in less than 24 hours.  The leaked episodes appear to have come from review copies sent to the press, which contained a blurred watermark and were only available in standard definition.

The timing could not have been worse for HBO, which recently rolled out its new “HBO Now” service that allows for viewers to pay a monthly rate ($14.99) in return for standalone HBO service that does not require a cable subscription.  In the past, obtaining an HBO subscription may have been impossible for viewers that lacked standard cable service—a difficulty that may have been a driving force behind the proliferation of online piracy of GoT.

[Editor’s note: we’ll be (mostly) offline over the summer break. See you in the fall!]