Intellectual Property Professors Call on Congress to Modernize the Copyright Office — WIth the confirmation hearing of Dr. Carla Hayden for Librarian of Congress scheduled for next week, it is a good opportunity to assess what can be done to allow the Copyright Office, which resides within the Library, to operate effectively in the 21st century. Here, a group of IP Professors share their recommendations.
The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property: A Natural Rights Perspective — Distinguished legal scholar Richard Epstein takes a look at Randy May and Seth Cooper’s recent book, The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property: A Natural Rights Perspective. “It is perfectly permissible, even if ill-advised, for modern scholars to deride natural law principles,” writes Epstein. “But it is far riskier to deny that these theories had any traction at the time that the United States Constitution—which offers explicit protection to intellectual property—was drafted.”
Here’s why the music labels are furious at YouTube. Again. — A frank discussion with RIAA head Cary Sherman about the challenges the recording industry still face. Says Sherman, “When you compare what we get when we get to freely negotiate, with a company like Spotify, vs. what we get when we are under the burden of an expansively interpreted ‘safe harbor,’ when you’re negotiating with somebody like YouTube, you can see that you’re not getting the value across the platforms that you should.”
Google’s “safe browsing” initiative is more bark than bite — Vox Indie’s Ellen Seidler writes, “Despite headlines, it’s still business as usual for Google — Piracy sites full of malware and deceptive ads remain at top in Google search results.”
The FCC Should Drop Its Proposed Rules For Set-Top Boxes — “It is difficult to see who would benefit from the proposed rules. Certainly programmers would not benefit. Those who prefer no set-top box can already distribut[e] programming directly to consumers over the Internet. Few manufacturers of set-top boxes would benefit. With proprietary devices outlawed, only generic set-top boxes would be lawful. Manufacturers that can produce the devices more cheaply might do better. But manufacturers that specialize in customizable proprietary software and ever better security systems would have a diminished market. Cable and satellite distributors would not benefit because they no longer differentiate as strongly their product in terms of security and privacy from purely on-line services. Consumers would not be better off. The range of video options would be diminished, and the security and privacy currently afforded by set-top boxes would be lost.”
Facebook takes on its freebooting problem with Rights Manager — When Facebook unveiled its new video platform, it quickly became a magnet for “freebooting”, where users uploaded YouTube videos without authorization to the service. Freebooting is a particularly acute problem for the emerging group of YouTube-native creators, who have taken advantage of the platform to build audiences for their work, only to see those efforts siphoned off by piracy. So it is welcome news that Facebook has announced the implementation of a tool that will allow creators to help prevent copyright infringement.