Law in the Internet Society

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AccessVersusOwnership 4 - 10 Oct 2011 - Main.MikeAbend
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Because we only meet once a week, I was hoping to maybe use this as a vehicle for some discussion outside of the actual lecture.
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  your brains.

At least in the music industry, part of the problem is the concentration of power among a small group of powerful record labels. These companies collectively own about 85% or all sound recording copyrights, which includes the exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute such sound recordings.

When the original "streaming" laws were written and finalized by the DMCA, they made sure they protected the market for a physical commodity (phonogram such as a CD or tape). Accordingly, to provide an access model such as Spotify, a service (identified as an "interactive service" under 114) has to negotiate blanket licenses with each individual content owner, most importantly the market oligarchs (no one wants a service that can't get me any song I desire).

This proves problematic, since 1) Media companies are loathe to give up historic revenue streams such as CD sales; and 2) new technologies make the universal access (celestial jukebox) model more attractive to consumers and it isn't being implemented as it should.

As far as I know, only Spotify (headed in the US by CLS alum Ken Parks) has managed to get such licenses, and they were on unbelievably uneven terms. In addition to giving all of the record labels an equity stake, they don't properly compensate the artists whose songs are played on the newly licensed service:

Until the content owners are forced to make their catalogs available for a reasonable fee, the number of consumer-friendly services will remain extremely small.

-- MikeAbend - 10 Oct 2011

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Revision 4r4 - 10 Oct 2011 - 03:36:22 - MikeAbend
Revision 3r3 - 27 Sep 2011 - 12:35:26 - EbenMoglen
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