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InterActs tackles the problems with DMCA

InterActs, a series of roundtable discussions exploring digital creation, brings together  creators, fans, educators, and tech and legal experts to discuss the the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


Aja Romano

Internet Culture

The Daily Dot is pleased to present InterActs, a series of roundtable discussions exploring digital creation, in partnership with the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC). InterActs brings together various members of online media to examine topics related to creating art and community in the age of the Internet.

If you’ve ever gotten a takedown notice on your YouTube account, had your DVD player or other software tell you that the movie you’re trying to watch is rights-restricted, or been the victim of a false copyright claim, then you know how confusing and frustrating the concerns regarding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) can be.

Originally the DMCA was passed to provide major corporations with a method of recourse for quickly acting upon copyright infringement, as well as to deflect responsibility from Internet service providers that host infringing material. However, confusion over current copyright law, as well as occasional digital rights mismanagement or abuse of claims from copyright holders, has hampered the activities of many media creators and consumers.

As new technologies evolve, creative forms of expression abound, and as both artists and corporations become savvier about sharing and protecting content, copyright becomes an increasingly contested territory, despite the fact that more and more forms of creative work are protected under the Fair Use clause of U.S. copyright law. While media arts nonprofits, advocacy groups, and legal teams have been fighting to extend the rights granted to creators under the DMCA, rights holders are increasingly threatening and misfiring at protected material.

This week, the Daily Dot and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture will look at the DMCA and current copyright law as it pertains to digital rights: the confusing, the frustrating, and the hopeful. Moderated by David Cooper Moore, the discussion will feature creators, fans, educators, and tech and legal experts who have felt the full impact of DMCA on their work. We’ll discuss the victories and challenges in Fair Use across media arts disciplines and fill you in on how to join the community that is staunchly and successfully advocating for protected forms of creation in an increasingly restrictive world.

Tune in right here, Wednesday, March 27, at 3pm EST.

About the speakers:

  • Moderator David Cooper Moore is a documentary filmmaker and board member for the National Association for Media Literacy Education. He also works with the Center for Media and Information Literacy at Temple University. In 2009, he was a director/producer for the short 3 Fair Use Case Studies for the Media Education Lab, where he is a program director. As a documentary filmmaker, David has created videos and curricula for the PBS Elections 2008 curriculum, Access, Analyze, Act: a Blueprint for 21st Century Civic Engagement, and the Center for Social Media’s Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education.
  • Representatives from Kartemquin Films:
    • Gordon Quinn is the Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films and the executive producer of its most famous film, the landmark Hoop Dreams. A key leader in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, Gordon encourages filmmakers to educate themselves on the tenets of the fair use doctrine, frequently speaking to the media, legal, and educational communities about this fundamental right.
    • Jim Morrissette has been the technical director of Kartemquin Films for over a decade, and served as director of photography for Kartemquin’s Peabody award winning Terra Incognita in 2007. With the rest of the Kartequim staff, he has led advocacy efforts to protect the rights of documentary filmmakers. Recent victories in which they were involved include securing DMCA exemptions for ripping DVD & streaming video content and advocating successfully for the right of journalistic privilege over raw footage in the Central Park Five case.
  • Sina Khanifar is a serial entrepreneur whose first company, started while he was studying at Oxford in England, offered a service to unlock Motorola phones. He was subsequently sent a cease and desist letter by Motorola claiming that he was in violation of Section 1201 of the DMCA. After working with Jennifer Granick at Stanford to respond to those letters, he’s been actively following the conversation around some of the problems with the DMCA, and recently started a We the People petition regarding unlocking that garnered a response from the White House. He is now leading a coalition of technology organizations including Reddit, Mozilla, and O’Reilly at, asking for Congress to reassess the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA.
  • Art Neill is the founder of New Media Rights, which provides pro bono legal resources and assistance regarding intellectual property, licensing, and other legal issues that arise with new technologies and media, along with a free media studio. Neill also practices public interest law in the areas of internet, intellectual property, and communications law, and is an adjunct professor of law at California Western School of Law teaching Internet & Social Media Law.
  • Rebecca Tushnet has taught intellectual property, advertising law, and First Amendment law at the Georgetown University Law Center since 2004. She clerked for Associate Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court and has also worked at Debevoise & Plimpton specializing in intellectual property. She is a the Legal chair for the Organization for Transformative Works, a fandom nonprofit which successfully secured DMCA exemption rights for fanvidders in 2010 and 2012. 
  • Tisha Turk is associate professor of English at the University of Minnesota at Morris, where she teaches courses on writing, gender studies, and fandom. She has written about fan videos both in academic journals and for the In Media Res Media Commons Project. She has been making vids for over ten years. She was part of the Organization for Transformative Works team that successfully testified before the Library of Congress in 2009 and 2012 in favor of lifting DMCA restrictions for fan videos and remix video.

How to interact with us:

Use the Twitter hashtags #InterActs #DMCA, or direct questions to us at @InterActsOnline. Submit comments on Google Plus or on YouTube.

After the conversation, the Daily Dot and NAMAC will post summaries of the broadcast and/or embed the videos on their respective websites. Will also follow up with a compilation of resources and links discussed during the conversation or that panelists find helpful to these issues.

Additional resources:

Photo by Daily Dot/NAMAC

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