Public Knowledge (PK), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and Future of Music Coalition (FMC) commend the Copyright Office for inviting public comments in the matter of remedies for small copyright claims. Providing copyright owners with the ability to enforce small claims is important to ensure the effective functioning of the copyright system. Equally important is the ability of defendants to defend meritorious claims. While a suit in federal district court is expensive, it also provides various procedural safeguards that permit effective presentation of cases and protect the rights of defendants. These safeguards play an important role in copyright cases, which often raise complex issues. Even where a dispute involves small monetary amounts, it is likely to involve complex issues that touch on free expression, privacy, and competition policy.
Therefore, we endorse the Office’s intention to study the issue more carefully before making any recommendations. These comments are intended to assist that preliminary consideration by raising a few initial concerns. First, to the extent that an alternative system to a suit in federal district court is proposed, that alternative must ensure that it does not jeopardize procedural protections available to defendants. Second, the particular design of the alternative system should be informed by empirical evidence regarding the costs and benefits for all parties to the litigation, as well as the public who may be deprived of access to creative expression as a result of a court ruling.
If you’re hep to the internet, you’ve probably come across a wave of information — and even outrage — on the Senate’s PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA) and its House companion, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). These controversial pieces of legislation have the stated goals of curbing foreign “rogue websites,” but the initial versions of the bills would have done way more than that. Hence the widespread disapproval. read more
The technology community has made substantial in-roads in efforts to stop SOPA and Protect IP, two bills pending in Congress that would expand the ability of federal law enforcement and rightsholders to police the Internet for violations of intellectual-property laws. read more
While thousands of tech vendors frantically demoed new gadgets and apps at the giant Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a debate over the future of the Internet and how the government may regulate distribution of (often pirated) content was taking place down the hall….read more
Op-Ed in The Hill by FMC Deputy Director Casey Rae-Hunter.
The music industry has a long history of telling artists to “shut up and sing.” Which is why the internet has been so important in amplifying the voices of musicians of every conceivable background. It’s also why artists should be wary when powerful entertainment conglomerates push for polices that could undermine free expression, all the while claiming to speak for creators.
Congress is currently considering a pair of well-intentioned but deeply flawed pieces of legislation that threaten to fundamentally change how the internet works. Hollywood and the labels back these bills, which are rightfully being questioned by the broader arts community, from artists and managers to writers and performers. read more
We have censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet — a bill that could pass in the House of Representatives THISWEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop this well-intentioned but overreaching bill, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/7227/uncensor
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[This post was authored by FMC intern Danny Weiss]
In a December 9 blog post, YouTube Product Manager David King announced Google’s acquisition of licensing and royalty service provider, RightsFlow. YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, will combine “RightsFlow’s expertise and technology with YouTube’s platform (and) hope to more rapidly license music on YouTube…” read more
Regular readers have probably seen us post about “termination rights,” which is a fancy way of saying that authors of copyrightable works — including musicians and songwriters — are eligible under federal law to have their rights return to them after a period of 35 years. Some of the companies to whom those copyrights were originally granted (like publishers and labels), aren’t keen to give them up. read more