Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On TCNJ Website

The Signal Article

From Xerox to Napster: Copyright laws evolve

By Lauren Gurry

Issue date: 4/9/08 Section: News

Stanley Pierre-Louis, an executive for Viacom Inc., explained the entertainment industry's perspective on copyright protection during a symposium on April 2.
Media Credit: Chris Gifford
Stanley Pierre-Louis, an executive for Viacom Inc., explained the entertainment industry's perspective on copyright protection during a symposium on April 2.

There was no failure to communicate on April 2 as panelists Wendy Davis, Stanley Pierre-Louis and Gigi B. Stone discussed laws and trends in copyright at a symposium titled, "Copyright in an Age of Social Networking." The symposium was held in celebration of the new School of the Arts and Communication.

College President R. Barbara Gitenstein introduced the symposium, saying, "The laws governing copyright are historical documents," adding that it is hard to believe our Founding Fathers could be considering photo editing while writing the Constitution. Gitenstein also expressed her congratulations on the formation of the new school within the College.

Paul D'Angelo, professor of communication studies and host of the symposium, explained that copy machines make copyright infringement a lot easier. With peer-to-peer networks and video uploading, "'(s)haring is a good thing' becomes problematic," according to D'Angelo.

Davis, who writes for the Web site, discussed the primary trends in communication that she has observed as a journalist.

Recently, Internet service providers (ISP) have been responsible for policing the Web for copyright violations. According to Davis, other countries have been more formal about this policing. "France has said that they're going to start a 'three strikes and you're out' policy (against ISPs)," she said.

In the United States, AT&T announced last summer that it is going to start filtering its content. If all ISPs were to filter content, it would be difficult to account for fair use, which are excerpts of copyrighted works that the public may use. "It's not too clear how (making providers filter copyrighted work) would work," Davis said.

As another option, ISPs have also been thinking of adding an additional fee each month as a sort of "download tax."

Pierre-Louis, vice president and associate general counsel of Intellectual Property and Content Protection at Viacom Inc., took the podium to explain and defend copyright laws.

"These are very pressing issues right now," Pierre-Louis says. "Communications are the very essence of copyright."

"It's very important to get a framework of what copyright is," Pierre-Louis said before explaining what copyright is. Copyrighted materials are basically expressions of ideas that can be repeated in some way, and copyright laws protect these ideas.

Pierre-Louis explained that people could be sued for direct infringement or secondary liability. In secondary liability, those who assist someone else in breaking copyright laws are also liable.

According to Pierre-Louis, copyright laws can't be set in stone because media are constantly changing. In the '80s, there was a major lawsuit against Sony because of the opinion that VCRs promoted copyright infringement.

"When we sued Napster in 1998, everyone thought we were crazy," Pierre-Louis said. Now, however, it is commonplace for peer-to-peer networks to be sued.

Sohn, president and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Public Knowledge, took the stand after Pierre-Louis, joking, "Now I have more time to beat up on him," since he explained much of what she planned on addressing.

"The Internet is the most democratic and decentralized form of media there is," Sohn said.

Sohn explained that the term of a copyright cannot be forever, but terms keep being extended by the government. There are certain instances when permission does not need to be granted to use works, but the line is often blurry.

As an example, Sohn showed the audience a video called "Let's Go Crazy #1" on YouTube. In the video, two toddlers are acting crazy, while the Prince song, "Let's Go Crazy" plays in the background.

The user who posted this video probably did not think they were violating copyright laws, Sohn said, but YouTube was asked to remove the video. However, it still remained on the site at the time of the symposium.

NBC Universal sends nearly 1,000 take-down notices a month, and one study showed that nearly 30 percent of the notices are erroneous. However, most people take down their videos because the company "threatens to sue the living daylights out of you," according to Sohn.

Sohn has devised a list of suggestions to adjust copyright laws. These suggestions include a fair use reform, changing secondary liability and protecting against copyright abuse.

Symposium Program

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Let's Go Crazy Baby

In June 2007, Universal required YouTube to remove the below video which features an active baby with the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" playing in the background. Universal complained that the video was infringing on copyright controls. Brought to the symposium audiences' attention by speaker Gigi Sohn, this video exemplifies what she believed was wrong with copyright laws today.


Use the player above or click "Podcast" to hear a full-length recording of the symposium.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Today's Symposium

Thank you for attending today's Copyright Symposium. We hope that you enjoyed the event and have taken away some valuable information. Please take a moment to share your thoughts of the event by commenting on this blog post. We would love to hear your feedback.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Copyright PSA

Click on "Copyright PSA" above to hear the radio public service announcement that aired on The College of New Jersey's own 91.3 WTSR the week prior to the event. The team used radio as another method of publicizing the event.

Saturday, March 29, 2008



Press Release

Contact: Dr. Paul D’Angelo
Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

For Immediate Release
March 21, 2008

TCNJ celebrates the School of the Arts and Communication in hosting a symposium on copyright

EWING, NJ … On Wednesday, April 2, the Communication Studies department, in conjunction with the Office of Academic Affairs, will host a symposium about copyright law in an effort to celebrate the newly formed School of the Arts and Communication (SAC).

The event will focus on copyright of products made by media companies – music, films, and television shows – in an age in which peer-to-peer technology has morphed into social networking and video-sharing sites.

The symposium will feature three panelists: Stanley Pierre-Louis, Gigi B. Sohn and Wendy Davis. Stanley Pierre-Louis is the Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Intellectual Property & Content Protection at Viacom Inc. Gigi B. Sohn is the President and Co-Founder of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit organization that addresses the public’s stake in the convergence of communications policy and intellectual property law. Finally, Wendy Davis is a Writer and Journalist for MediaPost, an extensive Web resource for news about media industries. Ms. Davis’s column, “Just an Online Minute,” focuses on a variety of legal issues, including copyright in the new digital era, privacy, and net neutrality.

In a lively format of presentation, debate, and audience participation, the three panelists will address whether copyright rules should be changed to accommodate file sharing in a social networking age or stand firm in the wake of these new social and technological trends.

The Communication Studies department has recently announced that Dr. Gitenstein will be speaking at the event.

“I am honored and excited that Dr. Gitenstein will be attending the event,” said Taras Pavlovsky, the Dean of the new School of the Arts and Communication. “We have three wonderful speakers, and I believe the symposium will be a great success and the perfect way to celebrate our new school.”

The symposium will be held on April 2, from 4:00-7:00 p.m. in the new library auditorium. A luncheon will be held at 3:00 p.m. in the lobby of Kendall Hall for faculty and guest speakers. Light refreshments will be served to the attendees after the event.

Established in 2007, the new School of the Arts and Communication brings the Communication Studies department together with departments of Art and Music, and the Interactive Multimedia program. Each department and program is devoted to helping students develop their skills and knowledge within the rich context of the liberal arts.