IP Clinic fights for fair and equitable access to “short clips” of movies and TV shows for all educators and instructors using online learning platforms in recent filing to Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
In a pleading submitted just before the holidays to the Copyright Office in the Eighth Triennial Proceeding of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), student attorneys Keyana Pusey, Jesse Spiegel, Hector Contreras and Chelsea Kaminski of the WCL Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic asked the Copyright Office to allow innovative online educators and instructors on online learning platforms for the same basic rights as educators in traditional classrooms – to use short clips of movies and TV shows in their educational and instructional learning. They argue that access to such popular media – on which the current generation of students depends – is a critical part of the educational process in and outside the classroom.
Writing on behalf of longtime educational advocates Professor Peter Decherney, Director of the Cinema & Media Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and Professor Katherine Sender of Cornell University, numerous traditional educators and innovative online learning platforms, the comments show beneficial ways that today’s innovative online learning platforms would use exemptions under Section 1201 of the DMCA to teach medicine and help future doctors and nurses understand the common and rare disorders, to dive into computer science and help students explore challenging subjects with inspiration from diverse role models who came before them, to develop professional and business skills for new skills to advance in existing jobs or new skills to shift as industries change, and to develop avocations that enrich life, including musical skills for traditional students and lifelong learners. Video of a great drum technique, a person describing a rare medical disorder, or the life of a great female mathematician can bring to life a lesson, illustrate a concept, and deepen interest and understanding.
The long comments note that the exceptions they seek fall squarely with the goals of the DMCA (1998) to “facilitate the robust development and world-wide expansion of electronic commerce, communications, research, development, and education in the digital age” and the vision of the TEACH Act (2001) to “extend education beyond children and young adults to lifelong learning for working adults, and to reach all students of all income levels, in cities and rural settings, in schools and on campuses, in the workplace, at home, and at times selected by students to meet their needs.”
Clarity from the Copyright Office on the use of these clips will open doors of opportunity for students of all ages, in all parts of the country, even those with the most unusual of schedules:
“Adopting an exemption for educators and preparers of educational materials for online learning platforms will inevitably help break down existing barriers to education posed by social and economic inequality. Online learning levels the educational playing field for public and private school pupils, home-schooled students, and part-time learners of all kinds by providing equal access to education.”
The long comments of Professor Decherney and Professor Sender with WCL IP Clinic, together with all long comments in this proceeding, can be found at:
IPC Student Group Works with Common Sense Media to Protect Children’s Privacy
It was a busy year for policy in the 2019-2020 IP Clinic! The four-person pod Kiara Ortiz, Kristen Canales, Eli Sulkin and Jenna Russo led the way with hard work to protect children’s privacy. On behalf of Common Sense Media, a leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of all kids and families, the Pod researched the history of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and dove deep into the current online technologies which collect and use personal data of children, especially educational technologies in the classroom (“EdTech”).
The Pod found strong support for Common Sense Media’s concern that today “children are the most tracked and surveilled generation, ever” as the Pod reviewed research and writings, including Common Sense Media’s extensive research of EdTech services.  They found substantial privacy and security concerns around the collection of private academic and behavioral data of children in their classrooms, including lack of transparency for what is being collected and active third-party use of this personal data.
In comments filed on December 9, 2019, to the FTC, Common Sense thanked the IP Clinic students for their research and writing. The Pod, in turn, considered this advocacy experience a highlight of their Clinic year!
 Common Sense Media’s 2019 State of EdTech Privacy and 2018 State of EdTech Privacy, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/the-state-of-kids-privacy-evaluating-the-safety-and-security-of-kids-tech
National Telecommunications and Information Administration Comments
USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program Annual Report to Congress
Through the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program, more than 2,700 law school clinic students have been able to practice patent and/or trademark law before the USPTO under the guidance of a Faculty Clinic Supervisor. Not only has this provided superior legal training and invaluable experience to these students, but by providing their IP services to the public pro bono, this has also increased access to legal representation for the public.
The program came about as a result of a 2006 request for student practice in the agency by faculty of the American University Glushko-Samuelson IP Law Clinic. The AU faculty suggested the creation of a student practice rule in the agency modeled on the many student practice rules in state and federal courts across the country. The clinic’s students were appearing in federal court under such rules in IP matters, but were unable to participate in IP rights acquisition at the USPTO on their own.
By expanding education about patents, trademarks, and the patents and trademarks system at the law school level, independent inventors and entrepreneurs that have otherwise not been able to obtain quality legal services, have been afforded access to the competent legal representation necessary to succeed and compete in today’s economy.
The WCL clinic petition, memo requesting student practice in the agency, and the clinics response to request for comment are available below:
Information on current student practice program at the USPTO is available at https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/ip-policy/public-information-about-practitioners/law-school-clinic-1
The first annual report filed by the USPTO for the Law School Clinic Certification Program Act (P.L. 113-227) is available here.
Reforming the Trademark Opposition Process–Fighting Back Against Trademark Bullies
In the Spring of 2015 in collaboration with the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School and the Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic at Suffolk Law School, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic students presented a white paper to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) noting that the trademark opposition process poses significant financial hurdles to successful trademark registration for small and large businesses alike. The white paper proposed two changes to trademark examination and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) proceedings to make the trademark opposition process more efficient and fair: a “Second Look Review” and fee shifting. The white paper reviewed the underlying data and background information about the current state of frivolous claims, trademark bullying, and inefficiencies in trademark proceedings, including the pervasiveness of bullying in the trademark opposition process at the PTO.
Read the clinics’ proposal HERE.
Digital Millenium Copyright Act Triennial Rulemaking
Every three years the Copyright Office holds a proceeding to consider and grant limited exemptions to for users who can show the law is creating a substantial burden on free expression or other valuable activities. Student attorneys have worked on several DCMA exemption petitions, notably with Peter Decherney, Professor of Cinema Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, asking for exemptions for audiovisual works on behalf of college and university students and professors.
Student attorneys on one of the IP Clinic policy teams helped prepare reply comments for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in opposition of GC Docket No. 10-213, petition for class waiver regarding access to advanced communication services in E-Readers for people with disabilities. Student attorneys urged the FCC to enforce its rules requiring that devices like the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook be accessible to visually-impaired users.
Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC)
Clinic students collaborated with Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC) who, in the course of preserving and providing access to historical dance works, has encountered issues regarding works for whom the owners could not be found and/or contacted. On behalf of DHC, the Clinic prepared a comment conveying DHC’s unique circumstances that was submitted to the Copyright Office in response to a call for comments on Orphan Works. The purpose of the comment was to ensure the preservation of dance’s cultural history for generations to come and ensure that the voices of those seeking to preserve this cultural history were heard during the formation of potential orphan works legislation.
Professor Peter Decherney
Comments to the Copyright Office regarding its anti-circumvention rulemaking under the DMCA, requesting the creation, renewal, and expansion of exemptions for film professors and students accessing DVDs for educational purposes.
2011-2012, 2009, 2008-2009, 2005-2006
Media Literacy Education
Comments in DMCA triennial rulemaking proposing an exemption for K-12 teachers who use audiovisual works for educational purposes.
Digital Education Coalition
Comments in response to FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding net neutrality.
The Internet Archive
Comments in DMCA triennial rulemaking proposing an exemption for a class of works which requires obsolete operating systems or hardware as a condition of access.
Copyright Clearance Initiative
Comments to Copyright Office in response to Notice of Inquiry regarding Orphan works.
American Library Association Broadcast Flag
Comments on FCC proposal for a broadcast flag for digital copy control.