For over a year, students in the UCI Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic have been working tirelessly for a DMCA exemption for filmmakers and authors, on behalf of the International Documentary Association, Authors Alliance, Kartemquin Films, Film Independent,American Association of University Professors, and many others. Together with co-counsel Michael C. Donaldson, Chris Perez, and the Tech Law & Policy Clinic at University of Colorado Law School, the Acting Librarian of Congress announced a new rule that does just that in several important respects. This marks a great moment for fair use and freedom of expression.
The Librarian of Congress has granted the latest exemption, including the ability to access Blu-ray and digitally transmitted video (footage obtained from a streaming site such as Netflix). We are proud to have worked with International Documentary Association, Kartemquin Films and many others to achieve a landmark exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that effects ALL documentary filmmakers nationwide!
Here is a fine post by Authors Alliance with more about the DMCA hearings at the Library of Congress. We participated on behalf of authors who want to make fair use to create enhanced e-books that feature sound and moving images.
This week, IPAT student Aaron Benmark participated in a hearing at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC on behalf of authors who want to use multimedia e-book technology to create new works that talk about culture, history, current events, or politics. The hearing concerned the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s ban on breaking the encryption on DVDs, Blu-ray and most other media. When artists, authors, or filmmakers want to make fair use of cultural materials for purposes like this, the law allows them to do so—but under the DMCA, if they were to *access* the material they seek to comment on, they’d have to break the law. We were in Washington to seek an exemption to this law that would lift this restriction for authors who want to make fair use in creating multimedia e-books. We were joined by Mike Wolfe of Authors Alliance, the inimitable Bobette Buster, and Molly McClurg and Blake Reid of the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic, our co-counsel in this effort.
(L to R in the photo: Jack Lerner, Molly Priya McClurg, Aaron Benmark, Bobette Buster, Blake Reid, and Michael Wolfe)
Yesterday we testified before the United States Copyright Office seeking an exemption to the copyright laws that would allow filmmakers to bypass encryption on DVDs, Blu-ray and digitally transmitted video for the purpose of fair use. Jim Morrissette and Gordon Quinn from Kartemquin Films as well as IPAT students Aaron Benmark and Rahul Sajnani represented the independent filmmaking community well, offering cogent testimony about the specifics of the exemption we are seeking as well as the technical challenges filmmakers face in trying to make their films. Chris Perez from Donaldson & Callif, LLP also testified about the plight of narrative filmmakers. The Copyright Office staff asked many good questions and we appreciated the chance to explain our position to them. We look forward to the next steps in this process!
h/t to Art Neill of New Media Rights who also testified in support of an exemption. Thanks for the photo, Art!