TLPC Files DMCA Exemption to Ease Making Video Accessible in Educational Settings

Last week, the TLPC continued its efforts to make copyrighted works more accessible to people with disabilities. On behalf of the TLPC’s client, the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers (ATSP), as well as the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the American Library Association (ALA), and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) TLPC student attorneys Sophie Galleher, Angel Antkers, and Susan Miller filed a petition for an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would allow disability services offices, organizations that support people with disabilities, libraries, and other units at educational institutions to circumvent technological protection measures on videos to make them accessible, including through closed and open captions and audio description. The exemption will allow disability service offices, educational institutions, and libraries to better fulfill their legal and ethical obligations to make visual media more accessible to people with disabilities. The TLPC filed the petition as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial review of exemptions from the anti-circumvention measures in Section 1201.

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal for Security Research

(by Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov, Student Attorneys)

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal

This week, TLPC student attorneys Elizabeth Field and Justin Manusov filed a petition with the Copyright Office to better protect good faith security researchers. The petition, along with another filed earlier this summer, seeks to renew and modify an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits circumvention of technological access controls (such as digital rights management (DRM)) to copyrighted material. The modification specifically seeks to limit the potential risk of liability that good faith security researchers face in their work to protect consumers from security breaches and other harm. The TLPC filed the comment on behalf of the TLPC’s clients Prof. Ed Felten and Prof. J. Alex Halderman, who are both computer scientists whose research includes computer security and privacy.

TLPC Files DMCA Exemption Renewal and Expansion Petition for Multimedia E-Books

This week, TLPC student attorneys Sophie Galleher, Angel Antkers, and Susan Miller filed with our colleagues at the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Art, and Technology (IPAT) Clinic a petition with the Copyright Office seeking to expand an exemption from Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for nonfiction multimedia e-books offering film analysis. The petition asks to modify the exemption to include fictional multimedia e-books, multimedia e-books on subjects other than film analysis, and removing the limitations that refer to screen-capture technology.  The TLPC and UC IPAT team filed the petition on behalf of the TLPC’s client, Authors Alliance, as well as Professor Bobette Buster and the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) as part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s triennial review of exemptions from the anti-circumvention measures in Section 1201. 

Last Week in Tech Policy #47: W3C and EME—Is DRM Being Inserted in Your Web Browser?

(By Lucas Ewing, Colorado Law 2L)

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international organization whose goal is to set standards for the World Wide Web. Due to W3C’s highly technical subject matter, internal discussions rarely broach the public discourse, but recently, open internet advocates and some W3C members have expressed concern over plans to endorse Encrypted Media Extensions (EMEs).

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TLPC Facilitates Makerspace Webinar for Librarians

On February 28th, student attorneys Andi Wilt and Sean Doran and TLPC Director Blake Reid delivered a webinar on best practices for public library makerspaces hosted by the Colorado State Library Association.

The webinar focused on addressing problems and concerns that arise when a public space like a library provides access to 3D printing technology. 3D printers present challenges to libraries stemming from objects that may infringe intellectual property rights or raise other concerns under library policies.

The best way for libraries and other public makerspaces to mitigate against these risks may be to set up a positive agenda, training, and programming for the use of the space. For example, libraries should provide education and training of design technologies that work with 3D printers. Programs like Tinkercad are now free and easy to use, and many of them offer free training programs. Webinar attendees contributed a variety of helpful best practices that have worked in libraries across the country.

The webinar was recorded and archived by the CSLA and can be viewed anytime along with links to various resources and best practice ideas.

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.