Thought some of my readers might find interesting the article I wrote for the January 2009 issue of the "Journal of Internet Law", providing my overview of some of the important online digital copyright law developments in 2008:
Content Holders vs. the Web: 2008 US copyright LawComplete article:
Victories Point to Robust Internet
By Ray Beckerman
The advent of digitalization and the Internet has shaken the foundations of the large recording and filmmaking corporations, whose wealth is measured in the ownership of intellectual property. Technology has simply erased the barriers to entry that once restricted content creation to the few and, in doing so, has eroded their monopoly position.
The Big 4 recording companies, once considered necessary to the success of musical artists, are seeing their monopoly position erode as performers now find themselves able to market their music directly to the entire world, either without the use of middlemen at all or by selecting middlemen who are numerous and who must compete for their business.
The Big 6 motion picture studios, once considered necessary to the success of film makers, are now on the losing end of a competition with everyday people, many of them teenagers, who are creating user-generated content at a dizzying rate, armed with no more than an inexpensive digital camera, videocam, or even a video-capable cell phone. These budding filmmakers likewise have access to the entire world, and for free.
Having been unable to find the key to marketing their vast treasure troves of sound recordings and motion pictures on the Internet, the 10 content owners have launched a litigation campaign the likes of which the world has never seen, arguing in every case for the most expansive possible interpretation of the US Copyright Act.
2008 has not been kind to their arguments, however, as the courts have adhered to a strict construction of the Copyright Act, both its traditional sections and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), designed to enable the United States to participate in a robust worldwide Internet.
Beckerman, Ray. "Content Holders vs. the Web: 2008 US copyright Law
Victories Point to Robust Internet", Aspen Publishers, Journal of Internet Law, 2009 edition (Reproduced by permission of the copyright holder, Aspen Publishers)
[Ed. Note. Had the article not gone to press when it did, it could have included the December 29, 2008, decision in UMG Recordings v. Veoh Networks, which represented yet another example of sanity in what is sometimes the last bastion of sanity in this country: the Courts. -R.B.]
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