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First off today, Music Business Worldwide reports that the Higher Regional Court Munich (OLG) has ruled that YouTube is not liable for copyright infringement by its users and that the responsibility for such infringements lies instead with the users who upload unlicensed material.
The lawsuit was filed by the german rights organization GEMA, which represents composers and publishers within Germany. According to GEMA, YouTube does not have a license to play the music it licenses in Germany but continues to do so through various channels on the site.
However, the court ruled against GEMA saying that it is uploaders, not YouTube itself, that are responsible to obtain such licenses and liable for such infringements. GEMA has stated that it disagrees with the ruling. The ruling is not immediately legally binding as GEMA has been granted the right to an appeal and has indicated they will probably do so.
Next up today, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task force has released its recommendation to Congress calling for judges and juries to consider a variety of factors when determining what damages to award in copyright infringement lawsuit including the infringer’s ability to pay and the actual financial harm done to the the infringed.
While the recommendation doesn’t call for a change in the maximum statutory damages, which is currently at $150,000 per infringement, the agency said that large awards that routinely go unpaid create a disrespect for copyright law.
The agency also supports the creation of a “small claims tribunal” that would handle cases of copyright infringement up to $15,000 for a single infringement and up to $30,000 for all of the works on a single copyright registration. The agency would also like to expand the innocent infringer defense, which greatly reduces damage awards, from just works without copyright notices to also include cases where the infringer thought they were operating under fair use.
Finally today, Claire Atkinson at the New York Post reports that, according to sources, Amazon is in negotiations with record labels to launch its own music streaming service akin to Spotify and Apple Music.
The report states that Amazon is targeting a $9.99-per-month price point, one that matches its competitors, though it is considering a discount for members of its Amazon Prime service.
If the service becomes a reality, Amazon is rumored to be looking at a fall launch and one that would integrate with its other offerings, including the sale of physical and digital music via its Amazon store.
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.