A group of 18 music industry organizations, representing songwriters, publishers and musicians, filed comments last week with the U.S. Copyright Office in response to the office’s congressionally ordered inquiry into the operation and effectiveness of Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, otherwise known as the “safe harbor” provisions of the law. And to make a long filing short: they don’t think it’s working very well at all.
As discussed in a previous post here, people in the copyright industries have been pining for years for a do-over of the safe harbors and notice-and-takedown procedures, which they claim have amounted to a get-out-of-jail-free card for online infringement, and the music groups came prepared. Their 70-page filing (including appendices) is chock full of colorful charts and graphs, footnoted legal arguments, and research findings, all purporting to demonstrate conclusively that the Section 512 bargain, which was intended to provide a limit on the liability of online technology providers for infringement by their uses while creating legal tools for copyright owners to get infringing content removed from the web, has been rendered null and void by advances in web technology and overly narrow interpretations of the law by the courts.
“Several factors have contributed to the failure of the DMCA to fulfill its purpose,” the groups said in their filing. “To start, Congress enacted the DMCA in 1998 when dial-up Internet speeds and static web sites predominated. Soon thereafter, individuals could be worldwide publishers of content on peer-to-peer networks and service providers began to distribute massive amounts of Read More »