3 Count: All Your Base

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1: Dept. of Justice Considering Major Overhauls on Consent Decrees, Sources Say

First off today Ed Christman at Billboard reports that has completed a review of the consent decrees that govern the performing rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI and are likely to propose changes that have been heavily sought after by publishers and songwriters.

The consent decrees were put into place by the Department of Justice to restrict the power that the PROs had to negotiate rates and limit their power as monopoly holders. It places limits on the activities of the PROs and set up rate courts to oversee disputes over royalties for performances. However, with the rise of digital music, those consent decrees have come under attack for being dated and for giving a great deal of power to streaming services, such as Pandora.

Though the Department of Justice has not formally announced the changes, they are rumored to be looking at allowing publishers to withdraw their digital streaming royalties from PROs, allowing them to negotiate directly with new services. They are also looking to limit the time a service can operate with an interim rate to better force negotiations as well as other changes widely seen as publisher-friendly that could result in higher royalties from streaming services.

2: ESA Says Preserving Old Games is Illegal Because it’s ‘Hacking’

Next up today, Jenna Pitcher at IGN reports that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a trade group that represents video game producers, has joined with the RIAA and MPAA in opposing a proposed exemption to the anti-circumvention rules in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that would enable academics and museums to preserve and backup classic video games.

In section 1201 of the DMCA prevents the circumvention of digital locks meant to prevent copying or access to material. However, the law allows for the Copyright Office to create exemptions, which it has done for things such as jailbreaking cell phones. However, there currently exists no such exemption for backing up and preserving video games, something that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is petitioning for.

However, the ESA and other bodies that represent content creators are opposing the exemption saying that there are alternatives to breaking DRM on video games and that it will send the message that hacking and piracy are lawful.

3: Major Labels Sue Music Leaker After FBI Investigation

Finally today, Andy at Torrentfreak writes that an unnamed 25-year-old Swedish man is being tried and sued over alleged leaks of music tracks before they were intended to be released.

According to the labels, the FBI investigated a series of leaks between 2010 and 2013 and found that they came from accounts associated with members of the music industry. It was then determined that the individual hacked into the accounts, downloaded the pre-release tracks and then sold them to DJs for a profit, which is alleged to have been around $12,000.

The tracks involved included songs from Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Mary J Blige among others. The individual is set to go on trial next month where he could face up to two years in prison. As part of that prosecution, the major labels are also suing him seeking damages.


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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