Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Copyright Utopia, Day 1 - Keynote

Copyright Utopia: YouTube and the DMCA's Silver Lining?
Fred Von Lohmann, Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Participatory media (user-generated content) creates lots of copyright questions
  • YouTube synonymous to new, emerging media form
  • Political satire: "This land is your land..." Bush/Kerry video from 2004; Obama/Clinton 1984 video (take off on Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad unveiling Macintosh computers) from 2007
  • Mashups: movie trailer mashups such as "Brokeback to the Future"; "Experiment in Sound" audio & video mashup
  • Parody: MoveOn.org's parody of Colbert Report was removed from YouTube after Viacom copyright complaint, which was actually falsely asserted...video back on YouTube; Disney copyright video from Stanford
  • Oddities: 8 minute "Star Wars" silent movie
  • The people's archive: old TV ads from the 1970s "archived" on YouTube
  • When do you ask the copyright questions in regard to this emergent media?
  • Because this content reaches audience first, we're able to have this debate
  • DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 1998) actually made user-upload sites possible by way of copyright violation exemption for host sites, so long as the offensive material is removed when requested (safe harbor provisions provided notice-and-takedown policy)
  • Gatekeepers: traditional intermediaries (TV, radio, etc.) conservative with regard to copyright, so if material is questionable, it doesn't go out
  • Bouncers: OSPs (online service providers) exempt from violations under DMCA safe harbors; everything is welcome but it'll be thrown out if getting out-of-control
  • Thanks to DMCA, finally getting to see all the fair uses we deserve to see
  • It isn't that copyright is not being violated - it probably is - but for the most part, no one cares
  • However, the creation made possible under DMCA threatened by lawsuits, mechanized censorship (filtering technologies), DRM (digital rights management)
  • DMCA safe harbors fight is fight for a *public* remix culture; essentially, a fight for fair use and free expression; this culture will continue to happen regardless but risks being driven underground
  • Transformative works risk becoming collateral damage in fight against actual violations
  • Things to think about in higher ed: 1) think DMCA not fair use (universities are OSPs not copy providers; have notice-and-takedown procedures; distribute links rather than copies); 2) build tools not collections (public does a better job of building archive of pop culture than any institution could so focus on ways to assist not control)

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