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Guess Who’s Coming to Copyright and Technology NYC 2016? January 12, 2016

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Uncategorized.
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There’s only a week to go until Copyright and Technology NYC 2016, next Tuesday January 19.  I thought you might like to know that we have people coming from these organizations:

  • BMI
  • CBS
  • CCIA
  • Charter Communications
  • Cisco
  • Copyright Alliance
  • Copyright Clearance Center
  • Elsevier
  • Entertainment Software Assn.
  • Facebook
  • Getty Images
  • HBO
  • Imagem
  • NBA (National Basketball Association)
  • NMPA
  • RIAA
  • Scholastic
  • Sony Music Entertainment
  • SoundCloud
  • SoundExchange
  • Thomson Reuters
  • Time Warner
  • Twitter
  • U.S. Copyright Office
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • UFC
  • Universal Music Group
  • Vevo
  • Viacom
  • Warner Music Group
  • Warner/Chappell Music

You can meet these people and many more!  Register now.

Copyright Office Launches Inquiries into DMCA January 4, 2016

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Law, United States.
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Last week, the U.S. Copyright Office published Notices of Request and Public Comment for both parts of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Section 512 (limitations of copyright liability for online service providers) and Section 1201 (prohibition of DRM circumvention).  Jacqueline Charlesworth, General Counsel of the Copyright Office, will be discussing both of these — and more — when she gives the keynote speech at our Copyright and Technology NYC 2016 conference on Tuesday January 19th.  (Register today!)

In both of the studies, anyone can submit written comments, and after the comments have been posted, the Office will hold public discussions.  Deadlines for written submissions are February 25 for the Section 1201 study and March 21 for the Section 512 study, though the Section 1201 study also has a March 25 deadline for replies to comments submitted by the February 25 deadline.

The Section 512 study is broad in scope.  It invites people to submit comments on a wide range of issues, including effectiveness of the notice-and-takedown process; accessibility of the law to small entities (both copyright owners and service providers); efficacy of automated processes for both detection of alleged infringements (e.g., through fingerprinting) and processing of notices; effectiveness and fairness of the counter-notification process; the potential for replacing “notice and takedown” with “notice and staydown”; and the overall effectiveness of the law in striking a balance between the interests of copyright holders and service providers.

The study notice mentions that because of a lack of specificity in the statutory language, courts have had to interpret various portions of Section 512.  As a result, we look to many court opinions to get clarity on concepts such as “red flag knowledge” of or “willful blindness” to alleged infringements, the “financial benefit” and “right and ability to control” standards for service provider liability, the precision of content identifiers or locators required in takedown notices, policies that service providers must have in place for terminating the accounts of “repeat infringers” in order to qualify for the safe harbors, and so on.  The study invites people to comment on whether or not the courts have interpreted these statutory concepts appropriately.  The study cites a “greatest hits” of Section 512-related litigations: Viacom v. YouTube, UMG v. Shelter Capital (Veoh), CCBill v. Hotfile, Columbia Pictures v. Fung (IsoHunt), UMG v. Lenz (“Dancing Baby”), and various others.

A huge amount of virtual ink has been spilled about inadequacies of Section 512.  Copyright owners, service providers, legal scholars, and others have all expressed frustration with it in Congressional hearings, court, the press, legal publications, blogs, etc.; the study notice summarizes the concerns that have been raised.  This is the case even though at least one study has found that stakeholders would generally prefer to have the law as it is rather than not have it at all.

This study should attract a larger number and broader range of inputs into Section 512 than previous attempts to assess it such as the March 2014 Congressional hearings.  It promises to be an excellent vehicle for intelligent summary of stakeholders’ concerns — including those who aren’t lawyers and can’t afford lobbyists — and of distillation of conclusions into recommendations.   The Copyright Office has no direct power to change the law, but as its mission is to serve as Congress’s official consultant on copyright, the findings from this study ought to carry a lot of weight in any legislative changes that Congress might consider.

The Section 1201 study, in contrast, is considerably narrower in its scope.  Section 1201 has been the subject of fewer high-profile litigations than 512, especially during the last few years.  The way it was originally set up, Section 1201 forbids circumvention of technical measures designed to control access to creative works, yet it defines two sets of exceptions — types or situations of circumvention that aren’t forbidden.  There are eight permanent exceptions for things like security testing, cryptography research, and activities of nonprofit libraries and archives.

There is also a set of temporary exceptions that the Copyright Office defines in rulemaking actions every three years; these exceptions expire and must be renewed through fresh evidence at each rulemaking.  The rulemaking process solicits public input but has typically been dominated by public policy entities who know how to “work the system” and submit exception scenarios that fit the Copyright Office’s criteria based on past experience.

The temporary exception process was complicated recently by Congress’s passage of the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act of 2014, which effectively overrides Section 1201 to make it legal for people to “circumvent technical measures” by jailbreaking or rooting mobile phones.  Meanwhile, the Copyright Office has complained that the triennial rulemaking process is very resource-intensive, and some have complained that the Office’s criteria for exception scenarios have changed over the six rulemakings that it has run since Section 1201’s enactment.

Thus the main thrust of the Section 1201 study is to revisit the exception process: to re-evaluate the permanent exceptions, and to see if there is a more efficient way of soliciting and deciding on exemptions over time that still minimizes the ever-present risk of technological obsolescence.  The study notice assumes that the basic idea of Section 1201 — to forbid DRM hacking except where the hack fits one of the current exceptions — will stay as is.  In addition, the Section 1201 study will revisit the prohibition on “trafficking” of circumvention tools in situations where people legitimately need to have third parties help them perform activities that include acceptable circumvention.

We will have a lot of discussion about these issues at Copyright and Technology NYC 2016 on January 19th.  In addition to Jacqueline Charlesworth’s keynote, we will be featuring a presentation by Jennifer Urban of Berkeley Law School and Joe Karaganis of the American Assembly at Columbia University of their original research on the efficacy of Section 512 and the processes that copyright owners and service providers have evolved over time to deal with it.  This research will undoubtedly serve as important input to the Copyright Office’s Section 512 study — and our conference will be its first public airing.

In addition, we will feature two afternoon sessions on Section 512 issues featuring expert panelists: From Takedown to Staydown and Pleasures of the Harbor: DMCA Safe Harbor Eligibility.  So why not register and participate in these cutting-edge copyright discussions yourself?



New Presentation on Piracy Data at January Conference; Earlybird Deadline Approaching December 9, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events.
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I’m pleased to announce that we have added a new presentation in the morning plenary session of Copyright and Technology NYC 2016 on January 19th: Incorporating Piracy Data into Everyday Business.  Here is the description:

Beyond copyright compliance enforcement, piracy data offers a view into the demand for a digital product without consideration for difficult topics such as licensing arrangements or price sensitivity. P2P is a popular mechanism for sharing of digital content, becoming more important with BitTorrent browsers like Popcorn Time. With many of the same attributes as sales data, piracy data offers a glimpse into the demand for content in an area where the price is free.

Whether it is understanding the drivers of demand or closing distribution loopholes, digital content owners have been using piracy data in a variety of forms. In this session you will see examples for how piracy data is mapped to more traditional metrics and used by content owners as a way of recapturing revenue lost to piracy.

This will be a presentation of original research by MarkMonitor, given by Nate West, MarkMonitor’s Director of Business Intelligence.  MarkMonitor has collected copyright monitoring data for many years and has developed unique insights on how copyright owners can use it to improve sales, marketing, and product strategy.

This joins another presentation of original research by Jennifer Urban of the Samuelson Clinic at Berkeley Law School and Joe Karaganis of The American Assembly at Columbia University, on how DMCA notice and takedown is working in practice among copyright owners and online service providers.  Both of these original research presentations will take place after the keynote by Jacqueline Charlesworth of the U.S. Copyright Office.

I am also pleased to announce that, for the second time, MarkMonitor is the Conference Sponsor for Copyright and Technology.  In addition, MarkAny is sponsoring a cocktail reception right after the conclusion of the afternoon tracks.

Finally, our earlybird registration discount ends this Friday, December 11.  With all this great content — and more being added regularly — you won’t want to miss Copyright and Technology NYC 2016, January 19 at the Kimmel Center at NYU.  Register today!

New Research to Be Presented at January Conference November 30, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Fingerprinting, Law, United States.
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I am excited to announce that Copyright and Technology NYC 2016 will feature a special presentation of new research: Notice and Takedown in Everyday Practice: Robots, Artisans, and the Fight to Protect Copyrights, Expression and Competition on the Internet.  This is a landmark study on how the Notice and Takedown provisions of Section 512 of U.S. copyright law work in practice.  It is the result of many interviews with copyright holders, service providers, and copyright enforcement services, as well as analysis of large numbers of takedown notices submitted to the Chilling Effects database.  Authors of the study are Jennifer Urban and Brianna Schofield of the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at BerkeleyLaw, and Joe Karaganis of The American Assembly at Columbia University.  The talk at Copyright and Technology NYC 2016 on Tuesday, January 19th will be its first public presentation.

Until now, very little empirical research has been done on the effectiveness of the DMCA’s notice and takedown provisions in addressing copyright infringement as well as due process for notice targets.  This talk will summarize research comprising three studies that draw back the curtain on notice and takedown: it gathers information on how online service providers and rightsholders experience and practice notice and takedown, examines over 100 million notices generated during a six-month period, and looks specifically at a subset of those notices that were sent to Google Image Search.

The findings suggest that whether notice and takedown “works” is highly dependent on who is using it and how it is practiced, though all respondents agreed that the Section 512 safe harbors remain fundamental to the online ecosystem.  Perhaps surprisingly, a large portion of service providers still receive relatively few notices and process them by hand. For some major players, however, the scale of online infringement has led to automated systems that leave little room for human review or discretion, and in a few cases notice and takedown has been abandoned in favor of techniques such as content filtering. Further, surprisingly high percentage of notices raise questions about their validity.  The findings strongly suggest that the notice and takedown system is under strain but that there is no “one size fits all” approach to improving it.  The study concludes with suggestions of various targeted reforms and best practices.

Please come and see this important research presentation on January 19th — register today!  Early bird registration ends December 11.


Copyright and Technology NYC 2016: Early Bird Registration Now Live November 23, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events.
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Registration is now available for our next Copyright and Technology conference, which will be at the Kimmel Center at NYU on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.  As you can see from the agenda, the conference is filling up with lots of great speakers — although we have room for more on some panels.  If you would like to propose a speaker, please email me with the following information:

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Contact info
  • Panel(s) being proposed
  • Perspective and experience related to the panel topic

In addition, as in the past, we are offering sponsorship opportunities, including the opportunity to work with us in creating a plenary session on a topic of importance to the digital copyright community (no sales pitches please).  Please inquire and we’d be happy to send you a prospectus with details.

Otherwise, please register today!  Early bird pricing ends Friday, December 11.


Copyright and Technology Conference Returns to NYC October 29, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events.
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I’m pleased to announce that the Copyright and Technology Conference is returning to New York.  Our next event will be Tuesday, January 19, at the Kimmel Center at NYU, Eisner & Lubin Auditorium.  After a three-year hiatus in London, we’re back and better than ever.

I am especially proud to announce my new partners in the conference: the Copyright Society of the USA and Musonomics.  The Copyright Society is a leading professional association for attorneys and others involved in the copyright field; it is well known and respected for its events around the country, its Journal, and its influence through the industry honors it offers.  The Copyright Society will be handling event registration, which will be up and running shortly, as well as New York State CLE credits for attendees.  I’m working with Eleanor Lackman, co-chair of the NYC chapter of the Copyright Society and a partner at the law firm of Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard, who has been a speaker at past Copyright and Technology conferences.

Musonomics is a music industry consultancy founded by Larry Miller, a highly respected digital music executive who now runs the Music Business program at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.  Musonomics is also a very informative and timely podcast about the music business.

The agenda for the conference is posted.  Our keynote speaker will be Jacqueline Charlesworth, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office.  We’re accepting proposals to speak and moderate panels through Friday November 20; proposals to moderate panels will be given priority.  Please email proposals to me with the following information:

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Contact info
  • Panel(s) being proposed
  • Perspective and experience related to the panel topic

In addition, as in the past, we are offering sponsorship opportunities, including the opportunity to work with us in creating a plenary session on a topic of importance to the digital copyright community (no sales pitches please).  Please inquire and we’d be happy to send you a prospectus with details.

New White Paper and NAB Workshop: Strategies for Secure OTT Video in a Multiscreen World March 22, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Events, Standards, Technologies, White Papers.
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I have just released a new white paper called Strategies for Secure OTT Video in a Multiscreen World.  The paper covers the emerging world of multi-platform over-the-top (OTT) video applications and how to manage their development for maximum flexibility and cost containment in today’s world of constantly expanding devices and user expectations of “any time, any device, anywhere.”  It’s available for download here.

The key technologies that the white paper focuses on are adaptive bitrate streaming (MPEG DASH as an emerging standard) and the integration of Hollywood-approved DRM schemes with HTML5 through Common Encryption (CENC) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).

It is becoming possible to integrate DRM with browser-based apps in a way that minimizes native code and without resorting to plug-in schemes like Microsoft’s Silverlight.  Yet the HTML5 EME specification creates dependencies between browsers and DRMs, so that — at least in the near future — it will only be possible in many cases to integrate a DRM with a browser from the same vendor: for example, Google’s Widevine DRM with the Chrome browser or Microsoft PlayReady with Internet Explorer.  In other words, while the future points to consolidation around web app technologies and adaptive bitrate streaming, the DRM and browser markets will continue to be fragmented.  In other words, to be able to offer premium movie and TV content, service providers will need to support multiple DRMs for the foreseeable future.

The white paper lays out a high-level solution architecture that OTT service providers can use to take as much advantage as possible of current and emerging standards while isolating and minimizing the sources of technical complexity that are likely to persist for a while.  It calls for standardizing on adaptive bitrate streaming and app development technologies while allowing for and containing the complexities around browsers and DRMs.

Many thanks to Irdeto for commissioning this white paper.   In addition, Irdeto and I will present a workshop at the NAB trade show on Tuesday, April 14 at 1pm, at The Wynn in Las Vegas.  I’ll give a presentation that summarizes the white paper; then I’ll moderate a panel discussion with the following distinguished guests:

  • Dave Belt, Principal Architect, Time Warner Cable
  • Jean Choquette, Director of Multiplatform Video on Demand, Videotron
  • Shawn Michels, Senior Product Manager, Akamai
  • Richard Frankland, VP Americas, Irdeto

This session will include ample opportunities for Q&A, sharing of experiences and best practices, as well as a catered lunch and opportunities to network with your peers and colleagues.  Attendance at this event is strictly limited and by invitation-only to ensure the richest possible interaction among participants.  If you are interested in attending, please email Katherine.Walsh@irdeto.com by April 7th. Irdeto will even give you a ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center and back if you wish.

USPTO Public Meeting on Identifiers for Automating Content Licensing March 17, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Rights Licensing, Standards, United States.
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is holding a public meeting on Wednesday, April 1 to gather input on how the U.S. Government can facilitate the development and use of standard content identifiers as part of the process of creating an automated licensing hub, along the lines of the Copyright Hub in the UK.

This meeting is the second one that the USPTO is holding after the publication of the “Green Paper” on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital economy by it and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in July 2013.  The first meeting, in December 2013, addressed several other topics as well as this one.

(For those of you who are wondering why the USPTO is dealing with copyright issues: the USPTO is the adviser on all intellectual property issues, including copyright, to the Executive Branch of government, i.e., the president and his cabinet.  The U.S. Copyright Office performs an analogous function for the Legislative Branch, i.e., Congress.)

The April 1 meeting will focus tightly on issues of standard identifiers for content — which ones exist today, how they are used, how they are relevant to automation of rights licensing, and so on.  It will also focus on specifics of the UK Copyright Hub and the feasibility of building a similar one here in the States.

As usual for such gatherings, all are welcome to attend, the meeting will be live-streamed, and a transcript will be available afterwards.  It’s just unfortunate that notice of the meeting was only published in the Federal Register last Friday, less than three weeks before the meeting date.  I was asked to suggest panelists on the subjects of content identifiers and content identification technology (such as fingerprinting and watermarking).  There are several experts on these topics who would undoubtedly add much value to such discussions, but many of them — located in places from LA to the UK — would be unable to travel to Washington, DC on such short notice and possibly on their own nickels.  It would be nice to get input on this very timely topic from more than just the “usual suspects” inside the Beltway.

Establishment of reliable, reasonably complete online databases of rights holder information is of vital importance for making licensing easier in an increasingly complex digital age, and it’s encouraging to see the government take an active role in determining how best to get it done and looking at working systems in other countries that are further ahead in the process.  That’s why it’s especially crucial to get as much expert input as possible at this stage.

Perhaps the USPTO can do what it did for the December 2013 meeting: reschedule it for several weeks later.  If you are interested in participating but can’t do so at such short notice (as is the case with me), then you might want to communicate this to the meeting organizers at the PTO.  Otherwise, the usual practice is to invite post-meeting comments in writing.

Announcing Copyright and Technology London 2015 March 13, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Europe, Events, UK.
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For our fourth Copyright and Technology conference in London, we will be moving up from October to June — Thursday June 18, to be precise.  The venue will be the same as in previous years: the offices of ReedSmith in the City of London, featuring floor-to-ceiling 360-degree views of greater London.  Once again I’ll be working with Music Ally to produce the event.

At this point, we are soliciting ideas for panels and keynote speakers.  What are the developments in copyright law for the digital age in the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world that would make for great discussion?  Who are the most influential people in copyright today whom you would like to see as keynote speakers — or are you one of these yourself?

We’re considering various possible topics, including these:

  • Implications of the “Blurred Lines” decision on copyright in the age of sampling and remix culture
  • The use of digital watermarking throughout the media value chain
  • Progress of the UK Copyright Hub, Linked Content Coalition, and other initiatives for centralizing copyright information online
  • Content protection technologies for browser-base over-the-top streaming video
  • Progress of graduated response schemes in France, UK, Ireland, and elsewhere

Please send me your ideas.  It’s your chance to tell us what you want to hear about and what you’d be interested in speaking on!  We intend to publish an agenda by the end of this month.

This Year’s Copyright Society Honoree to Keynote Copyright and Technology London Conference September 5, 2014

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, UK.

A quick postscript to my previous piece about Peter Menell’s Brace Lecture for the Copyright Society of the USA: this year’s honoree is none other than Shira Perlmutter, who will be one of the keynote speakers at our Copyright and Technology London 2014 conference on October 1.

Perlmutter has been an international copyright luminary for many years.  When I first met her in 2003, she was chief IP counsel at Time Warner.  Prior to that she had posts at the U.S. Copyright Office, WIPO, the Administration of President Bill Clinton, and Catholic University as a law professor.  After Time Warner, she went on to IFPI and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where she is now.  (The USPTO advises the Executive Branch of U.S. government on all intellectual property issues, including copyright.)  She also has adjunct appointments at Oxford and the University of London.

She will be sharing keynote duties with Maria Martin-Prat, who is the chief copyright official at the European Commission and has an equally distinguished career.  The two worked together at WIPO.  They will also be on a panel in the afternoon on American copyright reform and its impact on the European scene.  I’ll be moderating that panel, which will also include the eminent American copyright litigator Andrew Bridges of Fenwick & West and the UK copyright expert Stephen Edwards of ReedSmith.

Other panels I’m particularly excited about include one on the role of ISPs in copyright enforcement, given that the UK is planning on implementing a graduated response regime that’s purely “educational,” with no punitive component as in France, South Korea, and elsewhere.  One of our panelists there is Thomas Dillon, an attorney — now at WIPO — who is one of the leading experts on graduated response programs worldwide.  We’ll also have an interesting discussion about the content protection methods that Hollywood intends to require for its latest generation of ultra-high-resolution (“4K”) content, featuring Ron Wheeler of Fox — known as one of the most stringent of the major studios on content protection.  And we’ll have a special keynote by Dominic Young, CEO of the UK Copyright Hub, to give us an update on that.

Please join us in London on October 1 – register today!



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