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30 CEOs and other top executives in a new report sound off about how nonsensical copyright law is progress

Whether you're a college student, an engineer, or an executive in charge of a huge tech company, there's a growing consensus that U.S. patent and copyright law is badly out of touch with reality.

A new report by Rutgers University law school professor Michael Carrier, published in the University of Wisconsin Law Review, saw the lawyer detail 30 interviews with CEOs and other high-level executives in the tech industry.  It found overwhelming evidence that content holders have created a messy state of affairs for U.S. copyright law; a mess which is both stymying technology, and hurting the content holders themselves.

I. Consensus: Copyright Law in the U.S. is Out of Control

Mr. Carrier comments, "Many innovators working on revolutionary technologies and many venture capitalists told me that copyright law has harmed innovation in the music industry.  [I]ndustry leaders made clear to me that there are numerous innovations that failed to reach the market because of copyright laws"

He sees companies like Napster --which started on the principle of a radical new technology, but eventually fell under a flurry of litigation from the music industry -- as a failed opportunity for both parties.  He comments that "a lot of innovators were scared away from trying to work with the record labels."

DMCA cat
The DMCA and other punitive laws have plagued the tech industry.
[Image Source: Error Access Denied]

After the lawsuits, Napster flipped hands several times before eventually winding up -- in greatly diminished form -- as a property of current owner Rhapsody.

II. Win-Win Services Delayed by Legal Mess 

The author blames punitive litigation for delaying services like Pandora Media Inc.'s (P) and Spotify's internet radio offerings.

Pandora
In their rush to fight the future content creators stifled win-win technologies like internet radio.
[Image Source: Pandora]

On the topic of Orwellian "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) in the House and "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968) in the Senate, he writes, "The laws presented examples of copyright holders trying to expand the law to protect themselves at the expense of everybody else.  We saw that the technology and internet communities have muscles to flex. Innovation needs to be part of the equation. I wrote this article to help put innovation at the forefront of the debate."

Indeed, the government is now having to answer tough questions regarding the abuse of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) [PDF] (see Title 17 of the U.S. Code) to take down multiple legitimate sites at the request of the  Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The message seems clear -- by pushing punitive legislation like the DMCA, SOPA, and PIPA; and by supporting equally punitive/nonsensical lawsuits against individual file-sharers seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages -- content holders are hurting their own opportunity to profit by trying to fight technological progress.

Sources: Rutgers [1], [2]



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By Fritzr on 9/18/2012 2:18:20 AM , Rating: 2
Actually Disney Corp. cares a great deal about copyright law and surely has plans in place for a further extension of protection shortly before the early mouse cartoons go PD.

Disney has been one of the main driving forces behind copyright extension. If they ever fail to extend the copyright protection, they project serious damages due to original House of Mouse animation, artwork and stories being made available without a payment to Disney.

The corporate viewpoint is that copyright should not expire before the corporation does. This is in conflict with the US constitution, but since the biggest bank account tends to win the election, campaign contributions, both direct and indirect, influence Congressional decisions.

Many companies pay both sides of the election, but fail to mention the competing contributions when it comes time to tell the winning politicians what goals they need to work for if they intend to win the next election.


By BZDTemp on 9/18/2012 4:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, Lex Disney is a prime example of how big money influences/buys US politicians. Washington is as corrupt as can be :-(


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