Congratulations to IP Clinic student Jesse Spiegel for testifying before the Copyright Office on April 21st in the Eighth Triennial Proceeding on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) proceeding. Jesse brought some special concerns before the Copyright Office and fielded some fascinating questions.
For months, Jesse and his Clinic partners Chelsea Kaminsky, Keyana Pusey and Hector Contreras, Jesse interviewed, researched and wrote extensive comments and reply comments asking the Copyright Office to allow educators working on online learning platforms to be able to use clips of movies and TV shows in their course materials. The team wrote these comments on behalf of the “Joint Educators” headed by Professor Peter Decherney and Dr. Rebecca Stein of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Katherine Sender of Cornell University.
Jesse chose to testify due to his concerns. He wanted the Copyright Office to share his observation that young people today communicate by video: “Our society relies on video for everything – we communicate through video – we FaceTime, we send gifs… younger people send snapchat videos… which often completely replace even speaking at all. When we want to learn how to do something, let’s say like cooking a meal or fixing an electronic, most people don’t open a recipe book anymore, or an instruction manual. We go on YouTube.” He added: “now we have grown accustomed to working, socializing, and learning – online, using videos. So clearly effective education must use more videos than ever to match how we now function in society.”
Jesse voiced his deep concern that the Copyright Office’s current exemptions only allow traditional educators to use clips within the four walls of K-12, college and university classrooms, but exclude the growing number of non-traditional educators working on online learning platforms. He noted that the current exemption “includes only a sliver of the educational experiences we are having online.”
Jesse’s clear call to the Copyright Office stated: “we should be expanding access to education, not limiting it.” He noted that there is nothing to fear from online learning platforms as they offer an array of protections for educational materials and any clips they may include. Specifically, Jesse outlined that they work only with “registered learners,” feature “sophisticated digital protection measures” and limit access to “students currently enrolled in courses.”
Jesse closed with an appeal to educational equity:
“Let’s celebrate this expansion of educational access, this very real opportunity in front of us to address inequities that exist in our educational system, even by simply chipping away at them through this exemption, and provide learners outside the box of K-12 and accredited schooling means to have the same chance of commentary and critical thinking skills that comes from analysis of short clips of movies and tv shows.”
Jesse then expertly fielded questions from senior Copyright Office attorneys about distinctions between entertainment and dedicated online learning platforms.
Congratulations, Jesse, on your expert testimony and taking client representation to a new level!