“All the world’s a stage,” wrote Shakespeare in As You Like It, and he said as much in other plays. The public performance of creative works, including the work of songwriters, has to be seen in that context today. The advent of the Internet and digital technologies has blurred the lines of demarcation between public and private places, placing an undue burden on those experiencing or performing copyrighted works as to when a particular performance of a work necessitates obtaining a public performance license from the copyright holder.”
(1) to explore the role of the innocent infringer archetype historically and in the digital age;
(2) to highlight the tension between customary and generally accepted online uses and copyright law that compromise efficient use of technology and progress of the digital technologies, the Internet, and society at large; and
(3) to offer a legislative fix in the form of safe harbor for direct innocent infringers.
Such an exemption seems not only more efficient but also more just in the online environment where unwitting infringement for the average copyright consumer is far easier than ever to commit, extremely difficult to police, and often causes little, if any, cognizable market harm.
In the article, I argue that copyright law is ill-suited when applied to music generally, and genres like hip hop in particular simply because of the way music is created. Outfits like TechDirt.com have been arguing the same thing for decades and is a leader in the “it’s just how music is made” camp to reform copyright laws to optimize benefits for all parties involved.
My article will appear in The Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal’s Spring 2011 issue. Fordham’s journal is the number one ranked entertainment, arts and sports law journal, and the number sixth ranked intellectual property law journal. IPLJ articles have been read into the Congressional Record, as well as cited in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and in amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court as well as cited recently by the high court itself in the Bilski decision.
Founded in 1997 by Floor64 founder Mike Masnick and then growing into a group blogging effort, the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow.