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Showing posts from December, 2010

Freedom of Choice (The Copyright Kind)

I’m a lifelong musician and supporter of the arts, online and off.  Music led me to study copyright, which led me to study technology.  The three don’t always play nicely together as anyone who hasn’t had their head completely in the sand for the past fifteen years would acknowledge.  Recently, I attended an alumni event hosted by my undergraduate alma mater, Berklee College of Music.  I spent most of my night discussing copyright law with a fellow alum who works at a rights organization.  I mentioned my legal interests and inevitably we wound up discussing the role of Creative Commons (CC) in the current online ecosystem.  Once he said something along the lines of “Creative Commons is just an arm of Google, and has all the tech companies do their dirty work,” I knew this would be an interesting night.  The rights organizations have an essential role to play, I simply disagree with their litigation choices in a few recent matters and think there are more constructive ways of achiev…

Notes on the AIPLA's Amicus Brief in Viacom v. YouTube

The AIPLA recently filed an amicus brief in Viacom v. YouTube (hat tip, techdirt).  The case is an important decision on its way to the Second Circuit that agrees with other courts in holding that generalized knowledge of potentially infringing activity is not enough for a service provider to fall outside of the safe harbors established in the DMCA.  The AIPLA brief agrees with this point.  However, it relies primarily on a single paragraph of legislative history in disagreeing with the District's favorable citation to Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC I think that the AIPLA's conclusions on this point are unnecessary, contradictory and would lead to speech- and market-suppressing policy outcomes that courts have firmly rejected.

Under Section 512(c)(1)(A), an online service provider loses its "safe harbor" when it has “actual knowledge” of infringing activity, is “aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent,” and “upon obtaining such know…

Section 508: Hiding in Plain Sight, and Boxes

A 21st Century Copyright Office
Recently, Public Knowledge released a great report titled "A Copyright Office for the 21st Century, Recommendations to the new Register of Copyrights."  After a 16 year tenure as Register, and prior service at the Copyright Office, Marybeth Peters recently announced her retirement at the end of 2010.  The Public Knowledge report provides a list of ten recommendations to the next Register in addition to commentary reflecting their necessity in light of technological revolution and technical possibility, the expanded policy role of the Office, and the legal basis and/or barriers to implementation of most of the suggestions.&

The report provides just enough detail (for my taste!), excellent references and is not too long and technical.  I congratulate the authors on putting together a concise, accessible list of recommendations.  Highly recommended reading for those interested in these issues.  Below, I offer comments on a provision of the Co…