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!)