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Neutral Analysis of Rogue Sites Bills: Not Censorship, Not Groundbreaking

November 28, 2011

A credible, independent legal voice has weighed in on the move to counter rogue sites and address their threat to the U.S. creative industries and national economy: Hillel I. Parness, a New York attorney and adjunct member of the IP faculty at Columbia University School of Law. 
At the request of technology blog ReadWriteWeb, Parness conducted a study of the state of both the PROTECT IP and Stop Online Piracy Acts.  His conclusions help debunk some of the myths about the legislation including the conclusion that the bills do not give the government the tools to “censor” websites based on a content evaluation alone:
As Parness told ReadWriteWeb today, his analysis of the bills as they are currently written indicates that federal authorities would not be given the authority or the tools they would require to request a court order to take down any Web site (the bills concentrate on sites based abroad) based on content evaluation alone.
Per Parness:
“I don't view the approach here as anything that is groundbreaking in the macro sense. We have seen statutes, we have gotten used to statutes addressing the Internet, and the uniqueness of the Internet, that allow for various remedies, such as notice and takedown under the DMCA, which was new when it was implemented.”
He continues:
“None of those statutes are new…Therefore, if there was a risk of abuse, that risk has always been there. And I have confidence in the structure of our court system, that the prosecutors and the courts are held to certain standards that should not allow a statute such as this to be manipulated in that way.”
Check out the full ReadWriteWeb piece “Legal Analysis of SOPA / PROTECT-IP: No, It's Not Censorship,” by Scott M. Fulton, III here.

RIAA Question To Rogue Sites Critics: What Specifically Is Your Answer?

November 15, 2011

We’ve learned that several technology companies, including Google and Facebook, sent a letter today to leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, who are both currently considering rogue websites legislation.  While the letter is timely given the House Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing on the legislation tomorrow, the substance is unsurprisingly lacking.  As we’ve noted time and time and time again, Google needs to do much more to protect copyright online. Unfortunately Google continues to lead the fight against any effort designed to protect content, all the while refusing to offer any meaningful alternatives.

Mitch Glazier, Senior Executive Vice President, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) offered the following comment in response to today’s letter: 

“This is yet another example of the posturing that is disheartening to those of us who work on behalf of the creative and brand industries, and are interested in creating new jobs by having a level playing field to sell our products and services. A small handful of technology businesses sent a letter to Congress saying that they ‘support’ the ‘stated goals’ of bipartisan bills pending before the House and Senate – ‘providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign ‘rogue’ websites dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting.’  That’s all well and good, and appreciated.  There’s no doubt a well-established consensus, but what is their answer?  The status quo is not acceptable, nor is obstructionism.  Is the true motivation here simply to obstruct and delay?  When policy makers call this bluff, these groups have few specific, concrete ideas.  That’s illuminating, and a stark contrast to the constructive engagement by many Internet intermediaries – such as software developers, credit card companies, ISPs, domain name registrars, registries and others – who have all committed themselves to good-faith efforts to craft balanced and meaningful legislation that will make a difference. 

The next time you hear a vague, sweeping critique, backed by the platitude that of course intellectual property protections are supported,  we encourage you to ask:  what specific legislative proposal do you have that would meaningfully address this problem?”

More for the "Music's Value" Category

November 09, 2011

Most of us are lucky enough to say that music is a part of our daily lives.  Whether we listen to our own collections as we begin and wind down our days at home, while driving or on the go or we discover it on TV programs or movies, enjoying music is an evitable part of most fans’ days. 


Because of this frequent access that fans today have to music, and the connection we know people feel to it, we expected to receive a number of thoughtful essays when the RIAA, alongside NARM and as part of the Give the Gift of Music (GTGOM) Campaign, launched an autumn essay contest asking fans to share how any CMA Awards nominated artist’s music has inspired them.  But while thoughtful essays were anticipated, incredibly moving essays – and lots of them – were what we actually received. 


From the grand prize winning describing how Lady Antebellum’s music helped a disabled student to learn, grow and express himself, to the second place essay about a mother and daughter’s healing and musical therapy journey with Taylor Swift, to any of the additional six runners up and near 700 entries submit, the personal accounts we received really hit the ball out of the park.  That’s why we want to share them.  We’ve posted the winning and many more entries on the GTGOM website here, and we encourage you to read them. 


Both the outpour on entrant enthusiasm, and the essays themselves, serve as such a useful reminder of music’s value and the power it has to move us to inspiration.  Thank you to all the fans who participated!


Liz Kennedy, Director, Communications, RIAA

RIAA Chairman & CEO: Copyright bills won't kill the Internet

November 08, 2011

With the number of co-sponsors of the Senate rogue sites bill now pushing 40 (and growing), we felt it important to respond to some of the hyperbole being thrown about in certain corners of the Internet regarding the rogue sites House bill. Please see below for an excerpt and link to RIAA Chairman & CEO Cary Sherman’s piece that ran today in online tech publication CNET:

RIAA chief: Copyright bills won't kill the Internet
by Cary Sherman November 8, 2011 6:13 AM PST

Let's all take a deep breath.

That's what we do every time we read another headline about how initiatives designed to protect intellectual property are going to kill the Internet.

There is a place for passionate, vigorous debate over rogue-Web-sites legislation pending in the House (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and Senate (Protect IP Act). We welcome it. Facts are always useful, and especially in this instance.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57320417-93/riaa-chief-copyright-bills-wont-kill-the-internet/?tag=cnetRiver