Welcome to the website of the Digital Media Law Project. The DMLP was a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society from 2007 to 2014. Due to popular demand the Berkman Klein Center is keeping the website online, but please note that the website and its contents are no longer being updated. Please check any information you find here for accuracy and completeness.
The Society for Professional Journalists is hosting a series of one-day "Citizen Journalism Academy" workshops in Chicago (May 17), Greensboro, North Carolina (June 7), and Los Angeles (June 28). The idea is to provide training and information for citizen media creators on topics ranging from media ethics, to standard journalistic practices, to law. From SPJ:
I'll be quiet for a few days because I'm off to Los Angeles for a forum organized by Media Re:public, a Berkman Center project that examines the current and potential impact of participatory news media.
Yesterday, the OpenNet Initiative released an excellent report on the recent Internet shutdown in Burma, entitled "Pulling the Plug: A Technical Review of the Internet Shutdown in Burma." Besides the eye-popping technical analysis ONI was able to carry out in a matter of weeks, the report contains a great overview of the dramatic events of late September and early October 2007, including the role that citizen journalists and
Citizen journalists commonly embed video clips to illustrate a story or other posting. Sometimes, the posting itself (and its dissemination on YouTube) is the story. Have you ever wondered whether embedding that video clip might lead to copyright woes? If so, apparently you're not alone. There's been a good deal of discussion relating to this issue on various blogs and websites recently. The discussion took a humorous turn this week when a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judge inserted a link in an opinion directing readers to a YouTube video about George Brett's famous "pine-tar incident," only to find that the link was removed from YouTube due to a notice of infringement by Major League Baseball. (For more details see Eric Goldman's blog.)
The Blog Herald recently ran a story suggesting that, indeed, bloggers could be held liable for embedding an infringing video on their sites. The story quoted an IP attorney to the effect that "[a]ny time you incorporate a copyrighted work into a site without the rightsholders' consent, you're potentially liable. . . It doesn't matter where it's hosted." The story further indicated (on the opinion of the same attorney) that it does not matter if the person doing the embedding is aware of the infringing nature of the work because innocent infringement is just as actionable as intentional infringement.
Fred von Lohmann's informative post on EFF's Deep Links makes some good points that go a along way toward lightening up this rather gloomy picture. The post points out that an embedded YouTube video is just a link. So, there is "no copy of the YouTube video being stored on your server (only the HTML code for the embed)." A post on Techdirt last week made a similar observation, noting that "[a]ll you've done is put a single line of HTML on your page."
As von Lohmann writes, this makes embedded video just like any other in-line image links found on the web, including Google Image's search functionality. This is significant because an important recent case from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Perfect 10 v. Google Inc., held that Google Image's in-line linking of copyrighted photographic images posted on third-party websites did not constitute direct copyright infringement of the plaintiff's display or distribution rights because no copies of the plaintiff's photographic images were stored on Google's computers. The court wrote:
Not unlike John Perry Barlow's 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, David Weinberger has penned a new declaration of independence. This time from the telecommunication cartels. In Delamination Now!, Weinberger eloquently explains the need for "network neutrality" and proposes a long-term solution to make that neutrality stick:
The way the old phone system was is the way the current suppliers of Internet connectivity are. That's not too surprising since the old phone companies are Internet carriers. The problem is the same and so is the solution. We should do to the carriers of Internet signals what we did to the carriers of telephone signals. Bust 'em up so that the companies that connect us to the Internet don't also sell us services over the Internet. Providing connection and providing content and services can and should be profitable businesses. They just shouldn't be the same business...just as you wouldn't want your local school owned by The Acme Textbook Company, or your safety inspectors supplied by The Acme Burglar Alarm Company. It's just too hard to resist your own brand. No, we have to bust up the carrier cartel. Structural separation. Divestiture. It's the only way to get the Internet that our economy, culture and democracy need.
If you have been wondering what the hubbub about network neutrality is all about, you won't want to miss Delamination Now!
Not citizen media law related per se, but with Google's reach, it's recently opened Public Policy Blog, which offers "Google's views on government, policy and politics," is going to be must reading. As Cory Doctorow reports:
We are looking for contributing authors with expertise in media law, intellectual property, First Amendment, and other related fields to join us as guest bloggers. If you are interested, please contact us for more details.