Internet Policy Task Force Is (Still) Not Sending Cover Artists to Jail

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6 comments posted

The report says that the

Submitted by Mitch Stoltz (not verified) on August 23, 2013 - 5:36pm.

The report says that the current law "disincentivizes prosecution" of unauthorized streaming. So presumably the Klobuchar bill will "incentivize prosecution." That means more people will be prosecuted for streaming. So the DoC is in fact recommending that more people be criminally prosecuted.

And regardless of whether "music publishing companies are generally not in the business of going after individual users, it's the U.S. Attorneys, not music publishers, that prosecute criminal copyright infringement. And if the purpose isn't to put "individual users" in jail, then we can exempt them from felony liability, right?

Good to know that some people

Submitted by D-BoyWheeler (not verified) on August 23, 2013 - 7:23pm.

Good to know that some people are looking at this carefully. And if this protects music fans and cover artists, it should protect video game Let's Play videos.

You're a smart guy, Mitch,

Submitted by Casey on August 26, 2013 - 8:47am.

You're a smart guy, Mitch, but that logic seems pretty stretchy.

Maybe this is a moment to talk about statutory damages, copyright small claims and noncommercial "fair" exceptions? Isnt it encouraging that the federal agencies (and to a certain extent, Congress) are looking into ways to ease licensing frictions and preserve speech while making sure that remedies are more consistently applied? Seems like an opportunity for those who have solutions and not just 20th-century beefs.

I'm also certain you know that the burden of proof in a criminal copyright case (fairly rare, MegaUpload paramilitary raid aside) is too high to be applied to kids who uploads cover songs. (Not that this is even what is being proposed.)

Our point here is to unmuddy the waters. It's straight-up sad when Daily Kos runs a petition saying that viewers of an allegedly infringing YouTube video are going to jail. Someone has to be the voice of reason amidst the unhelpful escalation.

if you think that kind of advocacy is effective, we'll just have to disagree. I personally believe integrity is more important than effectiveness.

By the way, we're not endorsing the streaming proposal. We're endorsing common sense evaluation. Artists are smarter than they are sometimes given credit for, and the only way to keep them working with you on the future we want is not to play them like saps. These artists may be helpful on stuff like privacy, prosecutorial overreach, and yes, even disproportionate copyright enforcement. But let's be square with them.

Lastly, yes, if there were a

Submitted by Casey on August 26, 2013 - 8:59am.

Lastly, yes, if there were a viable bill, (and that's an "if"), I'd want to make sure that individual users were exempt from federal prosecution. We could work on that together, even.

But our close read of the last proposal indicates that individuals aren't the intended target. If tighter definitions are needed, that's what we can push for.

If there's a case to be made that this proposal would chill innovation on the developer side, I'd be interested in seeing the rationale for that argument. Again, we are only responding to the exaggerated and false claims about imprisonment for cover artists, and trying to explain the current licensing environment for mechanicals and performances on the biggest UGC platform.

Casey, Let's do talk about

Submitted by Mitch Stoltz (not verified) on August 27, 2013 - 7:27pm.

Casey,
Let's do talk about statutory damages and noncommercial exceptions, and easing licensing friction. Or even small claims, though I'm skeptical about that coming to pass.

The Daily Kos petition certainly sounds hyperbolic. That said, whatever a bill is "intended" to do becomes irrelevant the moment the President signs it. The question then is what *can* be done with it. I agree with LBJ: "You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

I don't think the US Attorneys are going to start prosecuting kids who upload cover songs...but then again, I didn't expect them to prosecute Aaron Swartz for downloading freely available articles, or Richard O'Dwyer for hosting a collection of links. Overbroad laws invite abuse. Can you really say that a publicity-hungry U.S. Attorney would never bring felony charges against a successful but naive cover artist to "make an example" if the law allowed it? We shouldn't pass a law that makes that possible.

Well, though citizens will

Submitted by margarett (not verified) on January 27, 2014 - 7:33am.

Well, though citizens will not be sent to jail for using copy righted articles at present, the change in the provision does have this included in the new law. I do hope that this copy right infringement war come to a peaceful end. snoring mouth guard!

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