OTW Represents Vidders And Other Remix Artists at DMCA Anticircumvention Hearings

OTW board members Rebecca Tushnet (chair of Legal) and Francesca Coppa (chair of Communications and Vidding History) and TWC review editor Tisha Turk went down to Washington DC on May 7, 2009 to testify at the DMCA Hearings on Noncommercial Remix. Rule 1201 of Copyright Law prevents the circumvention of copyright protection systems (e.g. makes it illegal to rip DVDs or to hack your cellphone) but also requires the copyright office to hold hearings every three years to find out of this prohibition is adversely affecting anyone. In 2006, the copyright office granted an exemption to film studies professors, because the case was made that these professors need to rip DVDs to make high quality clip compilations to teach their classes. This year, there were a number of new proposed exemptions, including: educators beyond film studies professors (including K-12 teachers), documentary filmmakers, and vidders and other noncommercial remix artists.

The OTW previously submitted a reply comment in support of the EFF’s proposed exemption for vidders and other remix artists. Tushnet, Coppa, and Turk went down to support this comment with live testimony. As you might have seen across the internet, the other side–MPAA, studios, the people who make encryption technology, etc–suggested that instead of ripping, professors, remixers, documentary filmmakers and others make clips by filming a flat screen with a camcorder.

For more information:

* Audio files/podcasts of the hearings are available at the U.S. Copyright Office’s website and mirrored by the EFF on iDisk. (Our statements are part 2, the Q&A is part 3.)

* Rebecca Tushnet liveblogged the hearings: read the part about noncommercial remix.

* Wendy Selzer of Chillingeffects.org posted about the hearings and also livetweeted them.

* Patricia Aufderheide of the Center for Social Media at American University also blogged the hearings.

* Fred von Lohmann of the EFF has made a YouTube video summarizing the issues and focusing on the OTW and Rebecca Tushnet (“She’s Awesome”). He also blogged his legal analysis.

* Rashmi Rangnath weighs in at publicknowledge.org.

Attention Fanlore Contributors (and Future Contributors)!

The Wiki committee of the OTW is pleased to announce the formation of a Fanlore community on Dreamwidth. We needed a place for people interested in the Fanlore wiki to congregate, talk about pages (cool ones, ones with issues and concerns, plus general “how do I…” type stuff), and just keep in touch with what is happening on the site. We’ve been looking at various options for a place to gather, and Dreamwidth’s open ID option makes it attractive; you don’t have to be a member, but can comment using a free open ID account. (Note: if you do want to be a member of Dreamwidth, some folks in the community have been donating invite codes.) The community is also syndicated on LJ, so you can also keep in touch with what’s going on here.

Please spread the word about the community, and about Fanlore itself. While some areas of fandom (and some individual fandoms) are well covered in the wiki, others are badly under-represented. We will be doing outreach to some of these under-represented areas, trying to get help and expertise, but please help us spread the word. If you know people who have been nervous about Fanlore or afraid they were “doin’ it rong” (offhand assurance: you really can’t do it wrong), please tell them that there’s a place they can go to ask questions, either technical or content-based. Membership is open; everyone is welcome!

Extra! Your Political Speech is now a “Viacom Property”

Earlier this week, fan artist Glockgal discovered that all but one of the designs at her Zazzle store had been removed “because they “contained content in violation of Viacom’s intellectual property rights.” But the shirts contained not only original graphic designs, but political speech, protesting the casting of Asian or Inuit characters in the film of Avatar: The Last Airbender by white actors.

Apparently, you need permission from Viacom to say: “Aang can stay Asian and still save the world” or “The Last Airbender: Putting the Cauc back in Asian” or “The Last Airbender: Brown/Asian/Colored Actors NEED NOT APPLY”. These design were entirely textual, and obviously political: Glockgal called her store Racebending.com and contextualized its products as a form of political activism: “Stop Hollywood White-Washing of the upcoming movie The Last Airbender!” Glockgal is now selling some of the designs with “CENSORED BY VIACOM” plastered across them–but since when does Viacom own political speech about its products?