News Publishers Protect Their Content: The US Copyright Office Investigates

A new report by the U.S. Copyright Office. To withdraw the service known as First Click Free, which allows the editors to send a free article every day to Google and publish it automatically on their website simultaneously.

U.S. Copyright Office is taking comments

The U.S. copyright office is taking comments from stakeholders regarding a public study on news publishers’ exclusive rights under Section 115 of U.S. Copyright Law, more commonly known as news rights or newsmaker privileges. Stakeholders can submit their opinions via email and online form until April 6, 2017.

You are maintaining control over your content.

News publishers need to maintain control over their content and retain ownership of it. A few different strategies exist to help them do so, but each has unique advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, one method may be better suited than another—or all options may provide enough protection for your specific needs. If you’re unsure which strategy works best for your publishing model, find out what other news publishers in your community are doing, or consult an attorney for guidance on choosing a publishing structure that best suits your needs.

Fair use in the news context

If a news publisher uses copyrighted material for news reporting or commentary, it can take advantage of the fair use doctrine. This allows for use without acquiring permission as long as the use serves a transformative purpose—which means it must add value to the work by creating a new meaning or telling a story differently. Examples of transformative uses in the news context include parodies and brief quotations used to provide context.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor

A. Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe Harbor Requirements News publishers that want to qualify for protection under DMCA safe harbor provisions must fulfill a two-part test. First, they must establish that they have taken measures to remove the infringing material from their sites when they receive notice from rights holders. Second, to remain eligible for protection, they must be effective in getting repeat infringers off their sites (17 U.S.C. § 512(i)(1)).

Criticism, comments, news reporting

In a session at WIPO, four speakers worldwide discussed what publishers could do to best protect their news reporting, criticism, and commentary—all of which are granted copyright protection under Article 10 of the Berne Convention. A panel representing UK-based publishers and a panel representing Indian publishers shared some exciting insights into their own country’s laws regarding content protection.

Substantial non-infringing uses

There are, of course, substantial non-infringing uses for news publishers’ content. After all, our whole U.S. legal system is predicated on fair use and fair dealing—which allows for otherwise infringing uses if those uses benefit society and do not harm copyright owners.

Will this help publishers earn revenue?

First off, no, it will not. It won’t earn them revenue; it will protect their ability to earn revenue. But those are two different things. First and foremost, news publishers would be well served to remember that copyright law is ultimately designed to protect their rights as creators of content—not their ability to generate revenue.

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