Not long ago, we reported on US Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante’s House Judiciary Committee testimony regarding “the next great copyright act.” Pallante described the need to update our existing laws to make them not only more comprehensible to the average American, but also work better in a rapidly-evolving technological landscape. We thought that her reasoning was sound and that she was focusing on the right areas, including the incredibly complicated licensing environment for music.
Clearly, the commitee was listening. Yesterday, at a Library of Congress event marking World Intellectual Property Day, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) signaled his intent to review the Copyright Act (which was passed in 1976 and took effect in 1978), with an eye to optimizing the laws to reflect current realities. You can read Goodlatte’s full remarks here. (Self-referential bit — Goodlatte also gave a keynote at the 10th Future of Music Summit.)
On Monday March 4th, US Register of Copyrights MariaPallantedelivered a speech at Columbia Law School entitled “The Next Great Copyright Act.” Her remarks drew immediate attention within the creative communities and beyond — after all, it’s not every day that the nation’s top official on copyright calls for Congress to overhaul existing law.
If you were to pose the question of why unauthorized downloading is so pervasive many answers would probably refer to the prevalence of convenient, unrestrictive file locker services. This wouldn’t be wrong—file lockers clearly provide the infrastructure that people need to go about their unauthorized downloading activities. Opposition to file locker services tends to focus on their role as enablers and facilitators of unauthorized downloading, and in some cases, their tendency to turn a blind eye to the illegal exchanges that are obviously happening on their websites. read more
Last Friday, Google announced a major update to its search engine algorithm that will lower the ranking of sites hosting unauthorized content. We at FMC think this is a good thing: why should musicians and independent labels have their official pages show up lower in search returns than those offering illegitimate wares? There are, however, some legitimate questions about how this new search rubric will be managed, and to which sites and services it will apply. read more
Ever find yourself in a situation where a hot court decision drops but you have precious little time for a proper analysis? That was exactly the case this week, when your steadfast FMC’ers found ourselves with an appeals ruling in Viacom’s high-profile case against YouTube. The decision just dropped yesterday, but dammit, we like to be first in analysis! (OK, maybe second; Public Knowledge is pretty quick on the draw.)
The following is the gist of the case and the April 5, 2012 decision by the 2nd Circuit Court of appeals. read more
In July of 2011, several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) announced a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the major content industries. In essence, the ISPs agreed to implement a “graduated response” policy to educate and potentially penalize internet users sharing or downloading unauthorized content. Our initial statment on the Copyright Alert System (CAS) lives here. read more
One thing that is clear from the massive blowback is that the “business-as-usual” approach to policymaking is unlikely to produce results (at least not the results desired and expected by major industry trade groups). Unfortunately, some folks seem to be missing that point entirely, and are clinging to the idea that the SOPA/PIPA kerfluffle was simply Big Content vs. Silicon Valley.