Category Archives: Copyright

DMLA Empirical Research Study for Section 512 Study

 On March 21, 2017 DMLA filed additional comments to our original comments filed with the  Copyright Office for the Section 512 Study.  These comments included the results of an empirical research study that we conducted of our members and their contributors.

The Survey asked whether respondents monitor the Internet for copyright infringements of their or their contributors’ work, and examines their reasons for deciding whether or not to monitor and their experiences if they do monitor, specifically with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (“DMCA”) notice-and-takedown procedure.  We received over 1200 responses.

You can see the comments sent to the Copyright Office and the results to the survey here.

 

Copyright Alliance Applauds House Judiciary Committee for Prompt and Decisive Passage of the ‘Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act’ (H.R. 1695)

Bill would make selection process more effective and transparent and is critical to modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office

Washington, D.C. – March 29, 2017  – The Copyright Alliance applauded today’s approval of the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (H.R. 1695), which was passed by the House Judiciary Committee, as amended, by an overwhelming majority of 27-1.

According to Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, “we commend Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and all who demonstrated vigorous and expeditious backing for this important piece of legislation, enabling it to be passed through committee with tremendous bipartisan support.”

“The Register of Copyrights is an extremely important position to the U.S. economy, creativity and culture, which should be acknowledged by making the role a presidential appointee subject to Senate confirmation – just as the head of the Patent and Trademark Office and so many other senior government officials are,” Kupferschmid continued.

“Making the Register a presidential appointee as provided in H.R.1695 will not only make the selection process more effective and transparent but it’s also critical to the continued modernization of the U.S. Copyright Office. The bill enjoys widespread bipartisan support and little opposition because of the narrow and modest approach taken and the tremendous support for a more transparent process for selecting the next Register of Copyrights. We look forward to continued support for this legislation and to its passage by the House in the near future.” said Kupferschmid.

**DMLA, along with the Coalition of Visual Artists, was very active in backing this legislation.  Read here

DMLA OPPOSES MARYLAND COPYRIGHT DEMAND LETTER BILL

On January 25, 2017 Nancy Wolff, along with representatives from Getty Images, the Copyright Alliance, MPAA, Comcast, BMI Music and others representing creators and owners of content, testified at a hearing against bill HR65 before the Maryland State Senate Finance Committee.

The Bill was trying to regulate copyright demand letters by preventing copyright owners from “making certain assertions of copyright infringement in bad faith”.  It also stipulated that a court might consider, among other factors, the absence of a certificate of copyright registration accompanying the letter s evidence of bad faith.  Read the entire story here.

 

 

DMLA Oppose MD State Law to Regulate Copyright Demand Letter

by Nancy Wolff, DMLA Legal Counsel

Sending copyright demand letters to users of images where no license is apparent has been a common practice of many DMLA members, even before images were distributed digitally. These demand letter s have been part of the copyright boot camp and form letters available to members to contact users and educate them about copyright misuse and to seek compensation if the images are not licensed.

On January 11, Maryland State Senator Edward Reilly (R) introduced a bill, HR 65 before the state legislature to regulate copyright demand letters. The bill is aimed at preventing copyright owners from “making certain assertions of copyright infringement in bad faith” and stipulates that a court may consider, among other factors, the absence of a certificate of copyright registration accompanying the letter as evidence of bad faith. The proposed remedies include the possibility of courts costs, attorney’s fees, and treble damages, including fees up to $50,000. On January 25, 2017 the Maryland State Senate Finance Committee held hearing on the bill. DMLA; Getty Images, the Copyright Alliance, MPAA, Comcast, BMI Music and other s representing creators and owners of content testified at the hearing as to the problems and burdens imposed by such a bill and provided written opposition. A copy of DMLA’s letter to the finance committee opposing the bill is [here]. The associations representing all the visual artists unanimously joined in the opposition as it would subject all copyright owner to unfair burdens in seeking compensation for infringements and violate federal copyright law. Joining our letter were the Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), American Photographic Artists (APA), the Graphic Artist Guild (GAG) and Shaftel & Schmelzer.

Last week we learned that the Maryland Senate Finance Committee was not going to vote on the bill and as to not embarrass the member of the Finance Committee who had introduced the bill. Thanks to the Copyright Alliance for alerting us to so promptly so we could respond so quickly and for Getty Images for attending and speaking directly with Senator Reilly before the hearing. The entire content community mobilized to avoid a very problematic state bill. We will need to stay alert for other state legislatures who may feel the need to protect their citizens if complaints arise over copyright enforcement. Copyright is very different from patents and there is a push to stem what is known as patent trolling. We need to avoid being swept into the same category of bad actors. . The underlying cause in this bill seemed to be a lack of understanding as how images are licensed and the value of a rights managed image.

Response to Copyright Office on Group Registration of Photographs

DMLA together with various other visual arts associations (what we are loosely referring to a Coalition of Visual Artists –DMLA, APA, ASMP, GAG, NPPA, NANPA, and PPA) filed a joint response to a proposed rulemaking by the Copyright Office on Group Registration of Photographs.

The proposal seeks to establish new online registration procedures for groups of unpublished as well as published photographs. The proposal was quite in-depth, including an extensive history of group registration of photographs regulations and the requirements for a new proposed system. In general the coalition was in favor of improving the electronic registration process for registration of all photographs, but had some recommendations for the Copyright Office on as to how to improve the proposed system. Read more here.

Coalition of Visual Artists Respond to House Judiciary Committee on U.S. Copyright Office Reform

On January 30, 2017 DMLA Digital Media Licensing Association) joined with the other members of a Coalition of Visual Artists (APA, ASMP, GAG, NPPA, NANPA, and PPA) in a joint response to the House Judiciary Committee with comments to the first proposal by Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers “Reform of the U.S. Copyright Office.”

After months of hard work to reach consensus and a united voice, our comments, entitled “Creating a USCO Capable of Succeeding in A Changing World”, begins “Collectively, all members of the signatory associations depend on effective copyright protection and enforcement for their livelihood.”

Read all about it here with a link to the full comments.

COMMENTS ON THE REFORM OF U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE

On January 30, 2017 DMLA joined with the other members of a Coalition of Visual Artists (APA, ASMP, GAG, NPPA, NANPA, and PPA) in a joint response to the House Judiciary Committee with comments to the first proposal by Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers “Reform of the U.S. Copyright Office.”

After months of hard work to reach consensus and a united voice, our comments, entitled “Creating a USCO Capable of Succeeding in A Changing World”, begins “Collectively, all members of the signatory associations depend on effective copyright protection and enforcement for their livelihood.” To ensure that happening we continue “We join with the Judiciary Committee’s call for greater autonomy for the Copyright Office. Regardless of whether the Office remains an independent agency housed in the Library of Congress, or an independent agency under the Legislative Branch with no connection to the Library of Congress, history has demonstrated that it is essential that it have autonomy over the its budget and its technology needs as well as its operational procedures (staffing, fees, structure, etc.).

The comments of the coalition also address the issue of the Register of Copyrights:
“We further support the selection of the Register of Copyrights as a Presidential appointee. If the judiciary committee decides to pursue this approach, we urge the Congress to move with great alacrity in passing the necessary legislation and respectfully urge the Librarian to refrain from appointing a new Register and instead await such legislative action. We fear that otherwise, many qualified candidates may not be willing to take the position of Register under existing procedures, uncertain whether that their appointment may be just months long.”
The Small Claims System Hosted by the United States Copyright Office” is also addressed “For the members of the visual arts community the overriding purpose of a copyright small claims proposal is narrow and straightforward: to end a longstanding inequity in our copyright system and finally provide photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, other visual artists and their licensing representatives with a fair, cost-effective and streamlined venue in which they can seek relief for relatively modest copyright infringement claims.
Under current law, too many legitimate copyright claimants are unable to pursue a copyright infringement action in federal court. This is due primarily to the prohibitive cost of retaining counsel and maintaining the litigation for some of these high volume, relatively low value claims brought by visual artists—a situation exacerbated by the fact that “they are often opposed by large corporations with limitless resources and the resolve to complicate and protract a case in hopes that the plaintiff runs out of patience, money or both.”

A full copy of the Coalition of Visual Artists comments can be found here. (You will need to scroll down to Amicus Briefs and Notices of Inquiries)

 

Important Section 512 Survey

DMLA has been actively participating in a study initiated by the Copyright Office on the impact and effectiveness of the Digital Millennial Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbor provisions contained in Section 512 of the Copyright Act. The safe harbor offers qualified Internet Service Providers (ISPs) immunity from monetary damages for hosting infringing content if the ISP expeditiously removes the content after receiving a proper notice. DMLA has provided responses to past Notices of Inquiries and attended round table hearings on this subject. The Copyright Office is now seeking additional comments and is specifically inviting parties to submit empirical research.

As this is such an important issue, DMLA plans to respond and has adapted for DMLA members and their contributors an online survey prepared by the Copyright Alliance for small creators to determine if this “notice and take down” procedure of the safe harbor is being used, how difficult it is to use, and how successful it is in having infringing content removed. The survey is short and should not take long to complete. We encourage all members to participate and send it to their contributors to build a large response pool. If copyright law is to improve, we need to have hard data on what is working and what is not.

If you haven’t filled out your responses yet, please do so.  The more responses we receive the better data we will be able to supply to the Copyright office.  You will find the survey here.

Deadline for completion is February 17, 2017.

President’s Message for the New Year

It’s hard to believe that the first month of 2017 is almost over. Reflecting on the past year we’d like to thank you for your support of our trade association. Working on your behalf, we strive to deliver the best legal advocacy, educational information and networking opportunities in the digital media industry.  Read the entire message here

President’s Message January 2017

 

 

 

 

Dear DMLA Members:

It’s hard to believe that the first month of 2017 is almost over. Reflecting on the past year we’d like to thank you for your support of our trade association. Working on your behalf, we strive to deliver the best legal advocacy, educational information and networking opportunities in the digital media industry.

In addition to the name change from PACA to DMLA to better reflect the constituents of the association, we are proud of the many accomplishments that DMLA has achieved over the last few years. Some of the significant 2016 accomplishments are highlighted below.

With a new board taking over in May 2016, we have set new objectives for the next two years to further evolve our organization, broaden our membership base and cement DMLA’s relevance to the digital media licensing industry. We look forward to sharing news on our initiatives in the coming months as we build up to our 22nd Annual DMLA Conference October 22-24 back in Manhattan again at the historic New Yorker Hotel.

We truly appreciate your support and hope you recognize, as we do, the valuable role your membership plays in allowing us to continue our efforts on behalf of the industry.

We are asking you to show your continued commitment to DMLA by renewing your membership for 2017. Invoices were mailed out in December and many of you have already made your payments, which is very much appreciated. We have made it easy to pay your dues; our Monthly payment plan has been a popular option for many members and is available again this year.  Dues are payable by January 31, 2017, so please make arrangements to get them paid by then.

 Finally, from the DMLA Board and all our Committee members, we wish you all the best for 2017!

Geoff Cannon                                                                                                                                                    DMLA President

 

DMLA 2016 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Membership

  •  Welcomed 10 new members into the Association

DMLASearch

  • Total relaunch of PACAsearch as DMLAsearch including a new website that includes photos from contributing agencies on homepage DMLAsearch.com

Connectivity

  •  Consistent communication with members this year through the use of our blog, twitter and Facebook page
  • Our 21st Annual Conference: Another outstanding conference was held in Jersey City in October. The sessions were reviewed as some of the best ever covering subjects from Doing Business in China to Advances in Visual Recognition. You can read reviews of all the sessions here, In a post-conference survey we received Very Good or Excellent marks from over 83% of our attendees.
  • Participation in Visual Connections in Chicago and New York to connect with buyers

Education

  • Webinar series continued in 2016 with “Sensitive Issues Web. You can find the audio recording here
  • Worked with DMLA member Adobe to produce and record legal videos explaining the basics of releases, fair use, issues involving outside art, graffiti and social media use of images. You will find them on our website Note – It’s a members-only section of the site so you will need your username and password to gain access.

Advocacy

  •  Maintained our presence in Washington, DC to advocate for DMLA
  • Meetings with the Copyright Office on the 108 exception, dealing with libraries and archives in July and then again in September with ASMP on suggestions for improving the current proposed Copyright Small Claims bill
  • Attended the U.S. Copyright Office’s public roundtable in New York, New York on May 2-3, 2016 in connection with the Office’s study on section 512 (involving immunity for ISP’s).
  • Attended and spoke on a panel on a day-long symposium sponsored by the US Copyright Office and the Center for Intellectual Property at George Mason Law School entitled AUTHORS, ATTRIBUTION, and INTEGRITY: Examining Moral Rights in the United States on April 18, 2016.
  • Submitted an amicus brief to the Second Circuit on behalf of the DMLA supporting Fox Network before the Second Circuit in New York in  the appeal of the decision  in Fox Network, LLC v. TVEyes, Inc., explaining that there is a robust licensing market for images and clips and that expanding fair use for an unauthorized distributor of video clips in this case could have a significant impact on the content licensing industry
  • Submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the DMLA supporting T3 Media before the Ninth Circuit in California in the appeal of the decision in Maloney v T3 Media, Inc. supporting T3 Media and the decision that held the act of offering editorial content for licensing or sale does not violate the subject’s right of publicity under state law and that the Copyright Act preempts state law where it interferes with the copyright holder’s right to exercise her exclusive rights. We explained the importance of this decision to the content licensing industry as a whole and the ability of the press and others to have access to licensable content.
  • Weekly phone meetings with the other visual arts associations on copyright small claims and other issues to help get important issues moved along by working as a cohesive group
  • Wrote Blogs on cases involving take down notices under the DMCA, removal of copyright management information and copyright damages
  • Worked successfully on Right of Publicity Act in Minnesota.