USPTO/NTIA multi-stakeholder forum on the DMCA

Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

OTW’s Legal Committee made another appearance at a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office event, this one at a multistakeholder forum in Berkeley, California on May 8. Legal Chair Betsy Rosenblatt spoke about protecting transformative creators, whose voices might easily be lost or ignored in a discussion focusing on anti-piracy. Stating that small entities have unique concerns regarding standard processes, especially when they are volunteer-run such as the OTW, Betsy also mentioned the importance of pseudonymity. Her segment begins at 5:12 in the Part 2 video. (No transcript available). Other participants included copyright stalwarts like the RIAA, MPAA, and Copyright Alliance; internet freedom and free expression advocates like the EFF and New Media Rights; and content hosts ranging in size from Google on the large side to DeviantART on the small side.

The meeting was designed to get participants’ views about benefits, drawbacks, and strategies for standardizing the DMCA notice-and-takedown procedure. The USPTO/NTIA representatives emphasized that this is not a lawmaking endeavor (nor could it be, since those bodies have no influence on copyright legislation), but rather an attempt to make current laws operate better than they currently do.

The meeting resulted in the formation of a working group. The OTW has a seat on that working group, and will continue to voice the interests of transformative creators and small service providers throughout the process. It’s not yet clear what the result of the process will be. Possibilities may include a set of “best practices”; a set of plug & play tools for rights-claimants and ISPs to use and adopt as they wish; or educational tools.

Because the OTW will be an official part of the working group process, this is an opportunity for OTW members’ voices to be heard. What would you like to see become a more standard part of the notice-and-takedown procedure? What would you want the procedure avoid? Let us know!

Legal Advocacy, Spotlight
  1. Sumlin commented:

    I’d hope that before a work is removed that the reasons it was in violation would be delivered to the creator so they’d have an opportunity to edit it accordingly.

    I can’t say I’m not worried when I see an organisation like the RIAA involved. As someone with a music industry degree and with family in music composition and publishing I’m familiar with how they operate. They are not on the side of artist expression but on the side of money. Specifically how they can benefit in bringing lawsuits for those they represent. They have been a part of some very restrictive campaigns in the past(which thankfully didn’t go through) that has ranged from attacking online streaming(paid and unpaid) to images and logos on clothing present in photos and video.

    I sincerely hope they aren’t spearheading this.