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First off today UK’s controversial Digital Britain legislation may be going through some changes. The bill, which would among other things allow for disconnections and throttling of repeat file sharers after two warnings, may be taking a change in tone as a recent amendment that has been proposed would allow an alleged infringer to keep his Internet access but to do so only if he or she paid a fee.
Another amendment under consideration may also place the value for this content the same as if it had been purchased from an Internet retailer, meaning one illegal copy of a song would equal one lost sale. Tracks that were shared before an official release would receive a 10x valuation and those that were not released in the same format would receive a zero valuation.
It’s an interesting idea that marks a shift in the “three strikes” debate. The Digital Britain legislation would consider such options if they were deemed necessary after an evaluation and education period had expired.
Next up today, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) has sued T-Mobile’s U.S. operation claiming that it has failed to pay the necessary licensing fees for the ringtones it sells to consumers.
According to BMI, which licenses music for public performances on behalf of publishers, songwriters, etc., T-Mobile, and other mobile phone providers need to secure public performance rights for ringtones as they are often heard in public. Others, including the EFF, have strongly disputed that theory.
This is similar to a lawsuit last year filed by American Society of Composer, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), a similar organization, against AT&T. Verizon agreed to pay a $5 million interim licensing feed to ASCAP based on similar threats.
Clearly this issue is going to get its day in court and I know many will be watching to see what the results are as it raises new questions about user liability for allowing their ringtones to play in public as well as other non-profit public performances of music.
Finally today, free music streaming service Grooveshark has found itself being sued yet again, this time by Universal Music, who accuse the site of making available pre-1972 recordings from its catalog, including from the Jackson 5 and Buddy Holly, and not paying royalties on them.
This comes after Grooveshark successfully settled a suit with the record label EMI over similar allegations.
According to Grooveshark, they pay royalties for all the songs streamed over their service, which are uploaded by users, but many record labels have disagreed with this assertion.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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