Over the past few weeks, the wonkier neighborhoods of the internet have been buzzing about a new bill introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that would make illegal streaming of copyrighted works a felony. Most of the bill’s critics worry that the amendments would allow the government to throw YouTube users, online video game tournament streamers and other seemingly minor infringers in jail. We at FMC feel that even though the bill would likely have less impact on musicians than it would on fans internet users in general, it’s important to describe what’s actually, you know, in the bill. Because not all of what you might hear is accurate. read more
You may have heard about a new bill introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that would make illegal streaming of copyrighted works a felony. If not, you can take our word for it when we say that it’s produced some strong reactions on blogs, message boards and social networks.
And there was a feeling the deal struck the right balance between rights holders’ needs and the rights of Internet customers. “While it is too early to tell whether a graduated response policy will have any measurable effect on the unauthorized distribution of music files, the framework does seem to strike an appropriate balance between access to a crucial communications platform and the need to protect the rights of artists,” said Future of Music Coalition Deputy Director Casey Rae-Hunter.
In an attempt to curb the unauthorized file sharing that has bedeviled the entertainment industry for over a decade, several major Internet Service Providers have agreed to implement a “graduated response” policy to educate — and potentially penalize — users caught illegally sharing copyrighted material online. To do this, ISPs will seek out hotbeds of peer-to-peer activity and target offending IP addresses. The policy is the result of collaboration and negotiation between ISPs and major content companies (think film studios and major labels).
“Creative License” is recommended not just for music geeks or music business geeks, but for anyone interested in law, the arts or both. Well written and treated with care, McLeod and DiCola’s work should be read on college campuses around the country.
The interests of EMI’s publishing arm may not necessarily be those of the songwriters it represents. As it is now, ASCAP takes a fee from payments it collects, then distributes the rest of the money equally between songwriter and publisher. Casey Rae-Hunter, of the nonprofit advocacy group Future of Music Coalition, says the big music publishers don’t have the same obligations to songwriters that ASCAP does to those same people, its members.
“What is EMI’s responsibility to the songwriters who are part of their publishing empire, and can we trust that this company is going to honor the 50-50 split that songwriters have worked out and honored over the years?” Hunter asks.
The “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act” (PROTECTIP) is a bill currently introduced in the Senate [PDF]. It creates more opportunities for the government and interested individuals to police websites engaged in activities that infringe intellectual property (IP) rights.
[This post is by FMC legal intern Adam Holofcener]
Ready for your head to explode? Let’s talk copyright termination of transfer!
This is a topic that is incredibly complex but super-important to ensuring that musicians and other creators are able to regain control of their copyrights that they “transferred” to another entity (think labels and publishers) after a certain amount of time. Congress set the period after which these copyrights revert back to their authors, in the 1976 Copyright Act. Unfortunately, the law also includes some unintended head-scratchers. read more
[This post was authored by Policy Fellow Liz Allen]
FMC recently signed onto an amicus brief (friend of the court) in Golan v. Holder, a case currently pending at the Supreme Court. The case challenges Congress’s implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), which removes some works created by foreign authors from the US public domain and restores their copyright protections. Congress enacted this law in order to comply with an international trade agreement called the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). read more