Clinic Students Fight for Fair Use for Online Classrooms


Section 1201 of the DMCA, the anti-circumvention provision, prohibits any fair use of copyrighted material if it requires going around a blocking measure. However, there is an exemption proceeding every three years where interested parties can fight for an exception to this rule. Currently, the Copyright Office is in the Seventh Triennial Rulemaking for Exemptions to anti-circumvention.

Glushko-Samuelson IP Clinic Students Melanie Singer and Alissa Logan filed comments and reply comments in the Seventh Triennial Review on behalf of Professor DeCherney and other educators (“Joint Educators”).  Their comments requested an expanded exemption to Section 1201 of the DMCA to enhance the quality, accessibility, and affordability of online education for all students – from traditional students seeking degrees to lifelong learners or professionals continuing their education.

Currently, all online courses are not treated the same. The exemption requested by Singer and Logan on behalf of Joint Educators asks for equality for all online courses to encourage innovation in education and availability of a variety of online educational opportunities.  They urge the Librarian of Congress to recognize that all online courses should use classroom materials the same way that offline courses currently do.

Specifically, in the recent reply comments, Logan and Singer set forth how the status quo of inequality harms professors, students, and educational institutions. The reply comments explain how the expanded exemption is needed to stop these harms and instead promote 21st educational opportunities for the 21st century workplace and community.

The next step in Rulemaking Proceeding will be a roundtable discussion at the Copyright Office on April 11, 2018.  Logan and Singer are working with Professor DeCherney who will testify on behalf of Joint Educators and continue to advocate for a better educational future for all types of learners.


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Students Help Launch Discovery Channel Series “Silicon Valley: The Untold Story”


Intellectual Property Clinic student attorneys Evelyn Kelley and Briana Whinnie at the Washington College of Law helped producers release Silicon Valley: The Untold Story, a series now available on The Science Channel, a subsidiary of The Discovery Channel.  Critically acclaimed producer Kiki Kapany of Kikim Media describes the film:

“The full scope and drama of the Silicon Valley’s evolution will be revealed in Silicon Valley: The Untold Story—a three-hour primetime series that examines how Silicon Valley has managed to stay on the cutting edge of innovation for so long and why its success has been so difficult to duplicate. Together with its website, digital media strategy and outreach effort, it will increase public understanding of a unique region—an enduring source of innovation, entrepreneurship, and world-shaking technologies—that has captured public imagination and changed the modern world.”

Student attorneys Kelley and Whinnie provided an essential and extensive fair use analysis of over 1000 clips, documenting that all third-party material meets recognized fair use legal standards. Additionally, students reviewed and ensured that depictions of prominent figures featured in the film series complied with privacy law. Their work is part of long-standing effort by the clinic with respect to helping documentary filmmakers follow best fair use practices.

The Silicon Valley series will be rebroadcast on the following dates:

Saturday, 3/24 from 9am to 12pm PST on Discovery’s Science Channel

Monday, 3/25 from 12am to 3am PST on Discovery’s Science Channel

Sunday, 4/1 from 6am to 9am PST on the Discovery Channel

Subscribers to most cable services also can stream the series on the Science Channel website or on mobile devices through the free Science Go app.  The series also will be available in the iTunes Store starting 3/20.

The Clinic is currently working on an upcoming project with Kikim Media to be released this fall.

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IP Clinics Recognized as an Opportunity to Do Good and Learn About IP

Clinics in the Intellectual Property space are quickly becoming a growing force in providing pro bono representation with a public-interest focus.  Listed among noteworthy  Intellectual Property public interest clinical programs are Stanford, Berkeley, UC Irvine, Colorado, and American University’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law clinic.

The article notes that “while there are a number of transactional type intellectual property clinics that will give you great hands-on experience (such as doing prior art searches and filing for patents or counseling tech startups),” these clinics focus on public interest and policy matters.

American University’s nationally acclaimed clinic provides a wealth of practical experience that supplements students’ doctrinal experience and enables students to enter the workforce prepared to take on real clients with actual needs while at the same time promoting the public interest.  This unique experience provides valuable insight and helps prepare students for success both before and after graduation. Don’t take our word for it – just ask any of our alums.



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IP Clinic Information Sessions for Next Year’s Class

Small Group Information Sessions—Come learn about the IP Clinic from faculty and current students.  Clinic applications due Feb. 16th!  Join us!

Feb 8th 3-4 p.m., Room Y236
Feb. 14th 12-1 p.m., Room YT15

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Copyright Office Grants IP Clinic Petition For Renewal of Section 1201 Exemptions to Circumvention

Washington College of Law’s Glushko-Samuelson IP Clinic successfully filed two petitions for renewal of exemptions for circumvention provisions in Section 1201 of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) on behalf of Joint Educators such as Peter Decherney, Professor of Cinema Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, Katherine Sender, Michael X. Delli Carpini, Professor and Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, the College Art Association (CAA), the International Communication Association (ICA), and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), and the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA).

By granting the petitions filed by the IP clinic, the Copyright Office recognized the value of exempting fairly used audiovisual works for college and university educational uses. Specifically, today’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making states that with respect to the petition for exempting the use of motion pictures for colleges and professors there was strong evidence to support continuing the useful exemption:

“The petitions demonstrated the continuing need and justification for the exemption, and personal knowledge and experience with regard to this exemption. For example, Joint Educators, AAUP, DCSUM, and LCA stated that courses on video essays (or multimedia or videographer criticism), now taught at many universities, would not be able to exist without relying on this exemption. Without this exemption, Joint Educators, AAUP, DCSUM, and LCA assert that educators would be ‘unable to provide an enriching and accurate description and analysis of cinematic or other audiovisual works when prevented from accessing such works due to Technological Protection Measure[s] ‘—and their declarant, Professor Decherney, has personally relied upon this exemption to teach a course on multimedia criticism … Based on the information provided in the renewal petition … the Register believes that the conditions that led to adoption of this exemption are likely to continue during the next triennial period. Accordingly, the Register intends to recommend renewal of this exemption.”

Additionally, the NPRM recognized the value of continuing the second exemption that the IP Clinic petitioned to renew – the exemption for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs):

“Joint Educators, ICA, DCSUM, SCMS, and LCA petitioned to renew the exemption for motion pictures for educational uses in massive open online courses (“MOOCs”) (codified at 37 CFR 201.40(b)(1)(v))…. The petition demonstrated the continuing need and justification for the exemption, stating that instructors continue to rely on the exemption to develop, provide, and improve MOOCs, as well as increase the number of (and therefore access to) MOOCs in the field of film and media studies. In addition, the declarant, Professor Decherney, demonstrated personal knowledge by describing his reliance on the exemption to teach MOOCs on film and media studies, as well as his past participation in the 1201 triennial rulemaking, along with Professor Carpini, ICA, SCMS, and LCA. Based on the information provided in the renewal petition and the lack of opposition, the Register believes that the conditions that led to adoption of this exemption are likely to continue during the next triennial period. Accordingly, the Register intends to recommend renewal of this exemption.”

Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also set forth the deadlines for submitting comments in support of proposed new exemptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA. The IP Clinic, led by student team Melanie Singer and Allisa Logan submitted a petition for a proposed new exemption to 1201 circumvention rules and are currently working with Decherney and Joint Educators to file comments in support of a new exemption that would ensure access to all digital educational opportunities for students in the new digital economy.

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IP Clinic Petitions for Greater Access to Fair Use Materials for Online Education in the Seventh Triennial Section 1201 DMCA exemption Proceeding at the Copyright Office


Alissa Logan is a 2L in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic at AUWCL

Through the years, the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic has had the exciting opportunity to work on several DMCA exemption petitions, and is again participating in this process. The previous petitions submitted by the IP Clinic involved a collaborative effort with educators and students. Securing these exemptions has assured that professors and students can continue to break digital locks and use short portions of audiovisual works for educational purposes.

This year, a student team led by Melanie Singer and Alissa Logan is working with Peter Decherney, Professor of Cinema Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, to submit a petition on behalf of university professors aimed at providing greater access to fair use materials for online digital education opportunities.

Melanie Singer - IP Clinic Student 2017-18

Melanie Singer is a 3L Student Attorney in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at AUWCL

Passed in 1998, Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) makes it illegal to break digital locks on copyrighted material, even when what you intend to do with the work is otherwise legal, such as fairly using the material. To account for the breadth of the DMCA legislation, the Copyright Office, every three years, holds a proceeding to consider and grant limited exemptions for uses where the petitioner can show the law is creating a substantial burden on free expression or is inhibiting other valuable activities.

In each triennial rulemaking process, petitioners can renew their previous exemptions, petition to expand those exemptions, or petition for a new exemption.

On behalf of Professor Decherney, Singer and Logan petitioned for a new exemption seeking to expand the current exemption for fair use of audiovisual materials to all online educational institutions. This exemption would allow professors of any online course to fairly use short portions of video or still images from these works to prepare a lecture or dissertation to engage students in the content being taught regardless of the forum for the course or type of course.

The petition aims to level the playing field so that online educational exemptions match traditional educational exemptions and so that all digital educational opportunities are available in the new digital economy.

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Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic STUDENT to Judicial Intern at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC)

The American Bar Association Section of Litigation sponsors the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (JIOP) for diverse students to participate in a full-time summer internship program with judges in the state and federal judiciary.  One facet of JIOP includes placing students in internships with an Intellectual Property Law focus.

IP Clinic alum, Eric Levi, interned for the Honorable Pauline Newman at the CAFC.  While in chambers, Eric researched and drafted opinions and prepared bench memoranda.  According to Eric, “The experience demystified the inner-workings of the court.  Listening to Judge Newman’s descriptions of why the court was established and how the law has evolved provided context to current judicial decisions.  And being surrounded by such intelligent, enthusiastic law clerks further reinforced my passion for intellectual property law.”


JIOP also hosts receptions and networking events throughout the summer.  Internships are available across the United States and applications must be submitted by the first week of January.

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USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program Visit

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosted students and faculty participating in its Law School Clinic Certification Program on April 10, 2017.  IP Clinic Student Eric Levi and patent faculty supervisor David Grossman represented the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic at the event.  Faculty and students from law school clinics from across the country attended this full day of presentations and discussions with USPTO administrators, examiners and judges.  Participants also attended a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board hearing where General Mills argued in favor of obtaining a trademark for a yellow box containing wheat based toroidal shaped cereal (Think Cheerios). Finally, students and faculty had the opportunity to network with participants from other schools.  The IP Clinic has participated in the USPTO student practice program since it was established as a pilot program more than ten years ago.

pto certification program

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IP Clinic Students Provide Vital IP Counseling to Cutting Edge AU Start-Up Ventures

From the start of the academic year, the IP clinic set out to develop a useful contribution to the ever growing industry of tech start-ups. In addition to client matters—which ranged from trademark oppositions and registrations to documentary fair use analyses to discrete copyright duration and registration issues—the IP clinic students worked as a team to launch a toolkit on IP-related issues for start-up companies, with a focus on the tech industry. They customized and built an online questionnaire that future IP clinic students will use to capture essential information that will be used to structure the forthcoming tool kit.

And in true clinic fashion, the IP clinic students then put the knowledge and experience they harnessed throughout the year into action in WCL’s first ever “IP Tips and Tricks for Startups” presentation, which took place on the law school’s state-of-the-art Tenleytown campus. For this event, the clinic hosted five start-up companies from American University’s on-campus incubator and provided them with tailored, high-level lessons on four areas of IP law: trademark, copyright, patent, and trade secrets. The start-up entrepreneurs were energized and engaged in the presentations and Q&A sessions, and afterwards the IP clinic students were able to mingle with the individual business owners and set up follow-up meetings to discuss their IP issues in further detail. Overall, this event was a huge success that resulted in peace of mind for the business owners and unparalleled hands-on learning for the IP clinic students.


-Dima Budron ’17

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With Help from IP Clinic Students, “Yasuni Man” Premiering at DC Environmental Film Festival March 19

For seven years, United States biologist Ryan Killackey researched and filmed the 1,500 kilometer Yasuni biosphere reserve in Ecuador, one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.  The resulting documentary explores “the impact of oil development on the biodiversity of the forest and its people,” and effectively “tells the story of the conflict in Yasuni that has pitted biodiversity and human rights against extractive industries and human consumption.”

This 90-minute film has already won 3 awards and several official selections so far on the film festival circuit. The Glushko-Samuelson Clinic, along with its student attorneys Aaron Wicker, Aurelie Mathieu, David Najera, and Joanna Scleidorovich, are credited at the end of the film.

Tickets are now on sale for the Yasuni Man DC Premiere at the D.C. Environmental Film Festival on Sunday, March 19th from 7-9pm at the Landmark E Street Cinema.

Please follow this link to purchase tickets:

For further reading:

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