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First off today, Don Jeffrey at Bloomberg reports that Internet radio service Pandora has sued the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in a bid to get what it sees as “reasonable” license rates. ASCAP represents some 435,000 songwriters and sets royalties for their work. According to Pandora, ASCAP gave Clear Channel an extremely favorable royalty rate and Clear Channel, through it’s iHeartRadio service, is seen as a direct competitor to Pandora. The move comes as Pandora is increasing the rate at which it loses money, a problem it blames in large part on high royalty rates it has to pay. In addition to the lawsuit, Pandora is also petitioning Congress for lower royalty rates on recordings.
Next up today, Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica reports that just one week after Kim Dotcom revealed the domain for his upcoming service, Me.ga, that domain has been revoked by the government of Gabon in Africa, which controls the .ga extension. Dotcom along with many of his employees were arrested in January as their site, Megaupload, was shuttered in a joint action by U.S. and New Zealand authorities. Dotcom has announced plans to launch a new cyberlocker service, one that he feels will be immune to such action, and had planned to use the Me.ga domain. However, Dotcom has announced the service will still go live, but at a different URL. In the meantime, Dotcom, a New Zealand citizen, and others face possible extradition to the U.S. but are waiting for a March 13th hearing.
Finally today, Declan McCullagh at CNet reports that, with the re-election of President Barack Obama, many are already looking to the tech issues he will likely be facing. One of the more critical and immediate issues may be the follow ups to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), which were shelved earlier this year after strong online protests. Joe Biden, the Vice President, has historically been a strong supporter of copyright industries and Obama himself did not come out directly against the acts, unlike his opponents Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. This may open the door for follow up legislation in the near future that will likely be redrafted to be more palatable to the groups that protested the first two bills, both of which would have enabled the blocking of so-called “rogue” websites. But while this legislation is widely anticipated, it has not yet been announced.
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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