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(L to R) New Media Rights’ Attorney Shaun A. Spalding, California Western Student Katrina Julian, and Executive Director Art Neill at a United States Copyright Office hearing in May. Neill testified in favor of internet user’s rights at the hearing held at UCLA School of Law.
New Media Rights Helps Secure Important Exemptions for Creators and Internet Users
Executive Director of California Western program testified at United States Copyright Office in May

SAN DIEGO, November 16, 2012 - Every three years, the United States Copyright Office considers exemptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s Anti-Circumvention provisions. These exemptions are critical to protecting otherwise legal activity by internet users and independent creators.

New Media Rights provided comments and testimony to this proceeding throughout 2012, and they are proud to announce these exemptions were recently granted by the Copyright Office in October.

Video Reuse Exemptions
Specifically, the Copyright Office renewed an exemption supported by New Media Rights that allows the reuse of video content from DVDs for purposes of fair use. This exemption has been expanded to cover a broader group of people than in 2006 and 2009, including K-12 educators, all college students, multimedia e-book authors, and professionals who have been commissioned to make videos for nonprofit purposes. The exemption also has been extended to online content, rather than limited to DVDs.

Jailbreaking of Smartphones and Tablets
The Copyright Office also renewed an important exemption supported by New Media Rights that permits smartphone users to install the software of their choice on their smartphones. This exemption is critical to keep phone manufacturers, carriers, and operating system makers from limiting access to otherwise legal services and content. The official rule explicitly mentions New Media Rights support of the cell phone jailbreaking exemption.

Work Left to Do
The Copyright Office did not extend the jailbreaking exemption to tablets. They also did not offer an exemption to jailbreaking of gaming consoles. Exemptions like these will continue to be critical to internet users and creators rights in the future. New Media Rights will continue to advocate for these exemptions.

New Media Right’s work began early this year when they filed comments supporting these exemptions in February. Their comments provided the critical perspective of the actual creators and internet users who rely on these exemptions.

On May 17, 2012, Executive Director Art Neill testified in favor of internet user's ability to jailbreak their phones and to lawfully reuse video content. The project submitted two detailed filings (read them here and here) in July in response to follow-up questions to parties who testified in the May hearings, in which New Media Rights provided detailed responses based on its one-to-one interactions with internet users and creators.

About New Media Rights
Founded by attorney Art Neill in 2007, New Media Rights offers one-to-one assistance and education for independent creative entrepreneurs, journalists, and internet users. New Media Rights also takes part in regulatory proceedings at the FCC and U.S. Copyright Office to shape policy and regulation around internet and copyright issues.

The program joined California Western School of Law in July 2012, joining other distinguished legal programs at California Western, including the California Innocence Project and Community Law Project, which share a focus on individuals without access to legal services. New Media Rights recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the legal assistance it provides to independent creators and internet users.

This weekend, New Media Rights is co-sponsoring Startup Weekend San Diego at California State University San Marcos. The three-day event gives innovators and aspiring technology entrepreneurs an opportunity to hear from industry experts about whether their startup ideas are viable. New Media Rights' sponsorship of the event includes an offer of free legal services for the winning team. 

Strong tradition of Community Engagement
New Media Rights’ focus on representing those who lack access to legal services reflects California Western’s commitment to community engagement and pro bono service.

California Western’s strong public service program has been recognized with inclusion on President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for three consecutive years, and by the State Bar of California, which presented the law school with the President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 2010.