Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) managed to get outsized attention for legislation that likely will go nowhere: A bill that targets Disney by reversing copyright protection for large media conglomerations. Hawley, viewed as a potential 2024 presidential contender, introduced the Copyright Clause Restoration Act on Tuesday, which would return copyright protections to a maximum of 56 years. It’s the latest effort to target The Walt Disney Co. after it came out against a Florida parental rights bill, which opponents have dubbed the Don’t Say Gay bill.
The four major U.S. broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox — have emerged victorious in a lawsuit against Locast, a nonprofit that enables — or they say, basically steals — local TV streams. Plaintiffs — the stations — asked a judge to throw out Locast’s claim that its online service is legally exempt from copyright infringement liability because it seeks only donations, not fees, from users, and only enough to keep its business running. Locast wanted a finding that it is exempt.
Between confusing copyright laws and the ability to easily lift and use video, audio and photographs for their own purposes, many companies in the media industry either don’t understand or don’t take seriously enough the risks of repurposing creative materials. Here are the top copyright pitfalls you should make sure your company understands, and avoids.
Google can let out a huge sigh of relief now that the Supreme Court has saved the tech giant from billions of dollars in damages in a long-lasting lawsuit brought by Oracle over computer code used to build the Android operating system. As for big movie studios, while a copyright dispute about computer code might not seem like a subject of particular consequence for them, an opinion from Justice Stephen Breyer concluding that Google made fair use of copyrighted material will very likely be discussed for quite some time and be invoked in other contexts. As such, a few lines in particular from today’s opinion could have many in Hollywood quite tense about a future staked on intellectual property.
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis (N.C.) is floating a plan to revise copyright enforcement, requiring tech companies to take a more active role in policing their sites for piracy by users.
The House began its review of the STELAR compulsory copyright legislation Tuesday (June 4) with a lengthy, wide-ranging discussion of video issues from short markets to cord-cutting, with frequent references from Democrats about putting consumers first, and all peppered with “dad gummits” and stronger from Patricia Jo Boyers, president of BOYCOM Vision and vice chair of ACA Connects.
The U.S. Supreme Court may soon have the opportunity to shake up the consumption of news. At stake could very well be the online dissemination of broadcast news clips as well as a deeper understanding of how politics and news intersect. That’s because Wednesday, the media monitoring service TVEyes indicated in an application to the high court that it would indeed be petitioning for review of a recent appellate loss to Fox News.
Every day we turn to the Internet for the seemingly endless amount of information and entertainment it provides. But most people don’t realize that we can only do these things because of a law passed in 1998 — the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Despite the creative and economic value the DMCA has helped create, the copyright industry wants to radically change the law to force online platforms to police for copyright infringements on their behalf by using content filtering technology. Let’s take a closer look at what that could mean.
While this summer has perhaps not brought the big headlines in trade press about copyright issues involving broadcasters – particularly in the area of music rights – there still are many issues that are active. While the rates for 2016-2020 are on appeal, these rates are effective pending appeal and webcasters need to be paying under them. Many other copyright issues are on the horizon, here’s an outline of many of the pending matters.
While stations are being confronted with new tech challenges and growing competition from online, plus growing consumer demand to watch shows when they want, these changes also offer forward-thinking station operators new opportunities as well. One example is rethinking the retransmission consent/compulsory license process.
When the NFL holds Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, it will use Arabic numerals for the first time. Even without the characteristic Roman numerals, the term “Super Bowl” remains one of the most iconic and well-known marks in sports. And, given that the Super Bowl is the most watched event of the year, advertisers and stations alike understandably want a piece of the Super Bowl action. But you should think twice before running advertisements for the “Super Bowl of sales” or the “Super Sunday Special,” as that may violate the NFL’s trademark rights.
The dates set out on the calendar include not only FCC filing deadlines and dates by which the FCC requires that certain documents be placed in a station’s public file, but also some special dates. Also included are lowest unit rate windows for the many primaries and elections that will be occurring this year, as well as certain other dates dealing with copyright matters.
The new, personal, live-streaming video apps — Periscope by Twitter and Meerkat by Life on Air Inc. — will likely get dragged by their inventive and fanatical users into a copyright and piracy minefield in Washington and the courts.
The CBS-TWC settlement makes all broadcasters winners, assuming they can continue to ward off government intervention. The deal demonstrates the continued attractiveness of broadcasting programming and (particularly sports) and its puts upward pressure on all retrans fees.
Victoria Espinel, the first White House intellectual property coordinator, has stepped down after almost four years in the post, according to industry sources. Espinel’s final day on the job was Friday. Howard Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, will serve as acting head until President Obama names a successor.
Although many areas of the law struggle to keep up with technology, copyright law changes can be exceptionally slow. In 2013, it seems particularly anachronistic to allow Aereo-like unauthorized and unpaid use of broadcast signals based on a metaphysical distinction between “public” and “private unique” performances, when potentially hundreds of millions of unauthorized, unpaid viewings of the identical broadcaster-originated programs could occur.
In Senate testimony to be delivered next week, former Fox and Disney lobbyist Preston Padden says broadcasters would be better off if Congress repealed the compulsory license and retransmission consent. Broadcasters could then act just as cable networks do and perhaps extend their signals to the Internet and other digital platforms. It sounds good in theory, but why mess with the status quo, which is working in broadcasters’ favor right now?
A federal judge denies the broadcast networks’ request for a preliminary injunction against the distribution of broadcast signals by the online company in New York. “While we are disappointed, we will continue to fight to protect our copyrights and expect to prevail on appeal,” says Fox in a statement. Aereo, which launched its service in March, is backed by Barry Diller.