Note: because of the holidays, this will be the last Endnotes of 2021. A big thank you to all my readers for another year full of copyright excitement. See you all in 2022!
The Year in Copyright: From Google v. Oracle to the Takings Clause â€” Devlin Hartline looks back at some of the highlights in 2021, from the creation of a new copyright small claims court, to the Supreme Court’s first look at fair use in 27 years.
Michael Pietsch Looks at Publishingâ€™s (Near) Future â€” A look ahead from the CEO of Hachette Book Group. Pietsch writes, “The clearest and most heartening lesson of this disruption is: Books are essential. Truly. In all times, and especially in difficult ones, a book is the best source of information, reassurance entertainment, education, escape, transformation. People reached out for connectionâ€”and a book remains the richest way ever created of connecting deeply with another mind.”
Maryland’s Unlawful Compulsory License for eBooks Should Have a Short Shelf Life â€” From Free State Foundation’s Seth Cooper: “Copyright protections secured by federal law preempt state laws that interfere with them. Yet the Maryland legislature apparently ignored or didn’t realize that when it enactedÂ Maryland House Bill (HB) 518Â in May of this year. The law, if it goes into effect in 2022, would grant Maryland public libraries a state-level compulsory license to access eBooks, audiobooks, and other digital literary works belonging to copyright owners at state-regulated rates. But a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on December 9 almost certainly means that the state’s law will have a short shelf life.”
Itâ€™s No Laughing Matter As Spotify Removes Comedy Tracks â€” Aaron Moss looks at an unexpected issue that has arisen in streaming music. Recorded music consists of two separate copyrights, the underlying song, and the recording of the song, and the music industry is built around a complex set of rules and institutions regarding compensation for each of these two copyrights, including on streaming music services. Technically, spoken word recordings like comedy albums, also consist of two separate copyrights. Moss notes, “Â But historically, unlike the case with music, the use of the underlying words hasÂ notÂ been separately compensated.” Should it?
How Music Created Silicon Valley â€” “Before the rise of Silicon Valley, hundreds of millions of records were sold each year in the US, and teens accounted for almost half of the purchases. Nowadays many teenagersÂ refuse on principleÂ to spend any money on music, because they believe it should be free. This attitude was created and validated by tech companies, especially those FAANG behemoths. These companies have made tons of money from music, but almost always have reinvested the funds into their other corporate initiatives. In the parlance of MBAs, music is now a cash cow. You milk it, and put as little money into it as possible. When the cow stops giving milk, you send it to the slaughterhouse.”