Using Image and Videos in Your Planetarium…Legally

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting another seminar to the Pacific Planetarium Association (PPA) on legal issues surrounding the use of images and video footage in planetarium shows and exhibits. The session was something of a follow-up to my presentation last year on using music in the planetarium.

The recording of the presentation is now available on YouTube. While you’re there (and if you work in a planetarium or around the industry) be sure to check out the full library of PPA seminars.

Shira Perlmutter Appointed 14th Register of Copyrights

Source: U.S. Copyright Office

Shira Perlmutter has taken the reins at the U.S. Copyright Office after the prior register, Karyn Temple, departed for the Motion Picture Association in . Shira brings with her decades of copyright policy expertise, having served previously at the Copyright Office, TimeWarner, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, and most recently as the Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Here’s the official announcement from the Copyright Office:

The U.S. Copyright Office welcomes Shira Perlmutter today as 14th Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden presided over Perlmutter’s oath of office in which, among other obligations, she swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States, which is the foundation for federal copyright law.

Perlmutter steps into the role during the Office’s 150th anniversary year at a time in which important forward-focused projects, such as copyright modernization, are at the forefront. In her first weeks, Perlmutter will be meeting staff, participating in public presentations, and taking on the management of ongoing programs and initiatives. She looks forward to engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and hearing about their priorities and concerns in the coming weeks and months.

Perlmutter has served since 2012 as Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), working in all areas of intellectual property, including copyright. From 1995 through 1999, Perlmutter served as the Associate Register for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office. Read more about her career here.

Maria Strong, who had led the office as the acting register since Temple’s departure last December (and admirably managing its COVID-19 response), returns to her previous post as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs.

I’m Speaking at the 2020 Midwest IP Institute

Midwest IP Institute Brochure Cover

I will be speaking at the 2020 Midwest IP Institute on October 1 from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. Central Time.

Specifically, I’ll be on a panel titled Copyright Enforcement Entities v. The Internet — Today’s Practices and Policy Attitudes and What They Mean for Your Clients, that will look at the current state of enforcement practices in the visual arts industry. Moderated by Minneapolis intellectual property attorney Michael Lafeber, I’ll be joined by panelists Michael Masterson, the CEO of Permission Machine, and Catherine Rowland, Associate Register for Public Information and Education at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Here’s the official description of the panel:

Easy access to and use of photos and images on the internet has given rise to a proliferation of copyright enforcement entities. In this session, with the benefit of diverse perspectives, you’ll learn about the current landscape of copyright policing and enforcement on the internet, including the need for, the practices of, and the policy issues surrounding copyright enforcement entities – and the practical import for your clients. Speakers include: the Associate Register for Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office; an author and corporate counsel for Fox Corporation; the CEO of a user-friendly and ethics-focused copyright enforcement service; and an experienced IP litigator.

The IP Institute offers two full days of programming and virtual networking, October 1-2, 2020. You can learn more on the Minnesota CLE’s website by clicking here.

New Edition of Circular 92 Available

The Copyright Office has released a new version of Circular 92, Copyright Law of the United States and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code. It contains a number of significant updates to copyright law that have been enacted since the last edition of the circular was released in 2016, including the:

  • Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act
  • Orrin G. Hatch-Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act
  • National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020
  • Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act of 2019
  • Library of Congress Technical Corrections Act of 2019
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

The document is available on the Copyright Office website. The Office says a print edition is forthcoming but has been delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Eighth Triennial 1201 Rulemaking Begins

It seems like only yesterday that the Copyright Office announced the seventh triennial 1201 rulemaking (or maybe it was only yesterday that I finally finished reading the 340+ pages of the Register’s recommendation), but here we are again: the Office has just announced the commencement of the eighth proceeding. The rulemaking, under 17 U.S.C. § 1201, aims to identify particular classes of works for which users are adversely affected in their ability to make non-infringing uses due to the prohibition on circumvention of access control technologies.

As I describe more fully in Chapter 5 of my book, the proceeding has evolved over the years form a relatively banal, esoteric administrative exercise into a more closely watched and sometimes hotly contested battle. (It was the fifth triennial rulemaking during which the Copyright Office determined — and justifiably so — that there was no longer a need for an exemption to allow consumers to “unlock” their cell phones).

The last rulemaking cycle was the first during which the Office used its streamlined procedure for “renewals” of existing exemptions, recognizing that while the statute does not permit the Office to simply “renew” previously granted exemptions, it could accelerate the way it adjudicates requests for those exemptions to continue. That approach apparently worked well, as the Office is doing it again during this cycle.

Here’s the full announcement from the Copyright Office:

The Copyright Office has published a notice of inquiry and request for petitions initiating the eighth triennial rulemaking proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 1201. Section 1201 provides that the Librarian of Congress, upon the recommendation of the Register of Copyrights, may adopt temporary exemptions to the DMCA’s prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. The ultimate goal of the proceeding is to determine whether there are particular classes of works as to which users are, or are likely to be in the next three years, adversely affected in their ability to make noninfringing uses due to the prohibition on circumventing access controls. When such classes are identified, the Librarian promulgates regulations exempting the classes from the prohibition for the succeeding three-year period.

For this proceeding, the Office is again using a streamlined procedure for the renewal of exemptions that were granted during the seventh triennial rulemaking. If renewed, those current exemptions would remain in force for an additional three-year period (October 2021–October 2024).

The notice of inquiry requests that interested parties submit written petitions for renewal of current exemptions by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 22, 2020, written comments in response to any petitions for renewal by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 8, 2020, and written petitions proposing new exemptions by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on September 8, 2020.

The Office will be offering a public webinar to discuss the 1201 rulemaking process on June 23, 2020, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Registration is required and available here

For more information, please visit