The EFF, in its continuing effort to push back on bogus DMCA takedown notices has successfully convinced the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to settle a lawsuit that the EFF filed on behalf of some animal rights activists. They had been attending rodeos and filming things they believed represented cruelty towards the animals — and then posting those videos on YouTube. The PRCA issued DMCA takedown notices, apparently not realizing that they don't actually own the copyright on those videos (whoever shot them does), and thus they were violating the DCMA
... It's quite common for sporting events or other events to believe they own the copyright on any photographs or video shot during the events, but hopefully settlements like this will give them a quick lesson in how copyright law works.
The Activists were awarded $25,000 for their troubles.
I don't see this opening the floodgates of free culture but it does give people the right to record events and create new works of value from the result. Videos that are simply recordings of live performances will probably still get the smack down, but there may now be nothing to keep you from recording such things for criticism and other fair use. Sooner or later, people will allow non commercial sharing of such works. Camera technology will make it impossible to stop but canned performances will never replace live events. When networks are free, we will be able to share our recordings with our friends who were unable to attend. Keep up the good work EFF, every step in the right direction is good news."
Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann