Posted on September 19, 2008 in DMCA, Drupal, IP, privacy, UGC by Brian RoweComments Off

I have submitted two panels to this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco. Please take a moment to look them over and vote for them if you’re interested:

Is privacy still important in the age of public social networks, GPS, microblogging and how do we protect our members?

With web applications and location based application gaining popularity, what obligations do we have to our members concerning their privacy and data.

Fair Use, User Generated Content, Terms of Service and the DMCA Safe Harbor

Panel discussion with professionals from NPOs and the legal profession to help answer your questions and provide access to best practices around User Generated Content.  This session will include 3 short presentations and lots of time for Q&A.  Samples best practices and hands on resources will also be provided.

Our volunteer web guru, Sarah, has also submitted a technical panel on Drupal:

Start to Finish Drupal Redesign

This will be a detailed technical case study of the ACLU of Washington website redesign using Drupal and Convio.

Posted on August 28, 2008 in Alice, copyright, Fair Use, remix, UGC by Brian RoweComments Off

One of the things I love about being in a SFFC chapter is the cutting edge new media that other members of the group point out. This video is a great Alice in Wonderland remix with an audio track composed almost entirely of samples from the movie. Very creative and a bit addictive enjoy:

Here is one of the more insightful comments on the video from kalaresh:

This is a really good example of why copyright laws and the organic development of art are ultimately incompatible. This is what artists have always done and are supposed to do — have a conversation with the culture by transforming existing popular art into something new. What makes this original isn’t the material but the perspective on it. You can’t really own art or an idea about it any more than you can own the ocean. It’s really a shame art like this is illegal.

This comment illustrates the tension between copyright law and creativity.  I hope the writer is ultimately wrong though, fair use should protect this type of creative remix.

PS: The audio track is downloadable at Last FM (blue download link when you get there)

Posted on April 9, 2008 in Chilling Effects, EFF, Fair Use, UGC, user generated content by Brian RoweComments Off

The DMCA take down process needs to involve a level of accountability for ridiculous takedowns. The following video is clearly fair use and possibly not even infringing due to a de minimis.

A DMCA takedown requests must include 5 things:

  • • The name, address, and electronic signature of the complaining party [512(c)(3)(A)(i)]
  • • The infringing materials and their Internet location [512(c)(3)(A)(ii-iii)], or if the service provider is an “information location tool” such as a search engine, the reference or link to the infringing materials [512(d)(3)].
  • • Sufficient information to identify the copyrighted works [512(c)(3)(A)(iv)].
  • A statement by the owner that it has a good faith belief that there is no legal basis for the use of the materials complained of [512(c)(3)(A)(v)].
  • • A statement of the accuracy of the notice and, under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on the behalf of the owner [512(c)(3)(A)(vi)]. (emphasis added)

Quoted from a joint project of EFF and several law clinics. For clarities sake the exact wording for the DMCA section 512(c)(3)(A)(v) is:

(v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

Fair use is part of the law codified in Section 107 of the copyright act. Given the power a takedown to kill speech and the requirement that the owner must have a good faith belief that there is no legal basis for the use of the copyrighted work, a clear violation of 512(c)(3)(A)(v) should result in an equitable remedy such as forfeiture of rights to use the DMCA with the possibility of loss of copyright for multiple abuses.

TechCrunch Possibly the most Ridiculous DMCA Take Down Yet

Posted on October 22, 2007 in Fair Use, privacy, UGC by Brian RoweComments Off

This week CBS, Disney and Viacom among other(who I call media middlemen) drafted and published “Principles for User Generated Content Services.” They want to require “Identification Technology” be used to limit your rights on User Generated Content sites (UGC’s.) Identification Technology is notoriously bad if not entirely unable to identifying Fair Use.

Beyond the obvious fair use problems which are explained in more detail by Kevin Donovan at Student for Free Culture. I am also bothered that the principles request that UGC’s to for keeping record on their users and turning them over to Media Middlemen if a take down occurs or if content is filtered by . Users privacy rights should be protected at least until there is a court order. UGC’s should be protecting users from baseless litigation and threating settlement letter by anonymizing user specific data like IP’s not handing it over to sue happy companies with lawyers that make predatory lenders look like your friend.

Here is the section that violates privacy:

“10. Consistent with applicable laws, including those directed to user privacy, UGC Services should retain for at least 60 days: (a) information related to user uploads of audio and video content to their services, including Internet Protocol addresses and time and date information for uploaded content; and (b) user-uploaded content that has been on their services but has been subsequently removed following a notice of infringement. UGC Services should provide that information and content to Copyright Owners as required by any valid process and consistent with applicable law.”

UGCs should refuse to use Identification Technology until it effectively identifies Fair Use 99.9% of the time. Other wise identification technology will just be a censorship tool that prevents us, real users from exercising our first amendment rights.

A full copy of the principles is available at: