[JPL] RIAA: U.S. copyright law 'isn't working'
drjazz at drjazz.com
Tue Aug 24 13:56:30 EDT 2010
ASPEN, Colo.--The Recording Industry Association of America said on
Monday that current U.S. copyright law is so broken that it "isn't
working" for content creators any longer.
RIAA President Cary Sherman said the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright
Act contains loopholes that allow broadband providers and Web companies
to turn a blind eye to customers' unlawful activities without suffering
any legal consequences.
"The DMCA isn't working for content people at all," he said at the
Technology Policy Institute's Aspen Forum
<http://www.techpolicyinstitute.org/aspen2010/> here. "You cannot
monitor all the infringements on the Internet. It's simply not possible.
We don't have the ability to search all the places infringing content
appears, such as cyberlockers like [file-hosting firm] RapidShare
The complex--and controversial--1998 law grew out of years of
negotiations with broadband providers, Internet companies, and content
industries. One key section says companies are generally not liable for
hosting copyright-infringing materials posted by their companies, as
long as they follow certain removal procedures, once contacted by the
In response to a question from CNET, Sherman said it may be necessary
for the U.S. Congress to enact a new law formalizing agreements with
intermediaries such as broadband providers, Web hosts, payment
processors, and search engines.
The RIAA would strongly prefer informal agreements inked with
intermediaries, Sherman said: "We're working on [discussions with
broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of
relationship--not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment
But, Sherman said, "if legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate
that kind of cooperation, fine."
Lance Kavanaugh, product counsel for YouTube, disagreed that copyright
law is broken. "It's our view that the DMCA is functioning exactly the
way Congress intended it to," he said.
The United States leads the world in the creation of innovative new Web
ideas, Kavanaugh said, in part as a result of the compromises made when
drafting that law: "There's legal plumbing to allow that to happen, to
allow those small companies to innovate without [the] crushing fear of
lawsuits, as long as they follow certain rules. Congress was prescient.
They struck the right balance."
Last week, the RIAA and a dozen other music industry groups called on
Google and Verizon to crack down on piracy
<http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20014211-38.html>, saying in a letter
that "the current legal and regulatory regime is not working for
Sherman acknowledged on Monday that YouTube is now doing a fine job of
filtering and removing copyright-infringing videos. But, he said, Google
"could stop filtering tomorrow and have no liability," as long as its
YouTube subsidiary replied promptly to notifications.
And, he suggested, it could do far more: "If you enter in 'Beyonce MP3
chances are, the first thing you'll see is illegal sites."
/Disclosure: McCullagh is married to a Google employee not involved with
*Update 6:20 p.m. PT:* During dinner this evening, Cary Sherman told me
that his response to my question earlier Monday was not a call for new
legislation. Instead, he said, the RIAA would like to see congressional
action only if necessary to formalize a voluntary deal with partners
such as broadband providers. But a broader law enacted /without/ their
cooperation isn't what the RIAA wants, Sherman said.
Dr. Jazz Operations
Oak Park, MI 48237
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