OTW Fannews: Legal stands

  • Online platform WordPress recently took a stand against abuse of DMCA takedown notices. They decided to join with journalists using the site in a suit “for damages under Section 512(f) of the DMCA, which allows for suits against those who ‘knowingly materially misrepresent’ a case of copyright infringement. Until there are some teeth to the copyright laws, it’s up to us — websites and users, together — to stand up to DMCA fraud and protect freedom of expression…We’ll also be actively involved, on behalf of our users, in trying to change the law — both through court cases and in Congress — to make sure that everyone has the right to share their voice on the internet without threat of censorship.”
  • The University of New Hampshire’s student newspaper reported on a challenge to courses using pop culture texts. “Over the summer, UNH offered an online class to children grades four through eight using Harry Potter to teach the kids grammar and literature tools. Warner Brothers, however, sent the university a cease and desist letter regarding some of its copyrighted material.” The “cease and desist letter asked UNH to change the class so that those interested in it did not think Warner Brothers sponsored the course.”
  • Fans interested in learning more about copyright can take a free non-credit online course. “CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course, offered each Spring under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. The course explores the current law of copyright and the ongoing debates concerning how that law should be reformed. Through a combination of pre-recorded lectures, weekly seminars, live webcasts, and online discussions, participants in the course examine and assess the ways in which law seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression.” Registration begins December 13.

What legal fandom issues have you become aware of? Write about them on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

One thought to “OTW Fannews: Legal stands”

  1. “Over the summer, UNH offered an online class to children grades four through eight using Harry Potter to teach the kids grammar and literature tools. Warner Brothers, however, sent the university a cease and desist letter regarding some of its copyrighted material.”
    First of all, this is a fair use for the purposes of education. Second, education is not a use in commerce, so Warner’s favourite fallback, accusations of trademark infringement, is also not going to cut the mustard. They should just give up while they can. Better if they’d not brought this suit at all.

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