Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Congress should bring copyright law into the 21st century; Los Angeles Times, 3/24/14

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times; Congress should bring copyright law into the 21st century:
"Congress updated copyright law in 1998 to address the nation's shift from analog devices and packaged goods — think turntables and vinyl records — to computers and e-commerce. Unfortunately, the law it wrote has proved to be a better fit for a dial-up era dominated by America Online, not broadband and the World Wide Web. The tools the law created to protect songs, movies, pictures and books from piracy have been no match for the rampant global bootlegging that new technologies have unleashed. At the same time, innovative entrepreneurs eager to help consumers create, store or share content online complain that the law left too much uncertainty over whether they could be held liable when their users violate copyrights.
These are valid complaints, but Congress isn't likely to address them any time soon because there's no consensus among copyright holders and tech companies on how to rewrite the law. The only help from Washington at the moment is a new effort led by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to broker a deal between the tech and copyright industries on voluntary measures to reduce piracy. Although it won't be easy for them to agree, there are steps both sides could take to make the existing system work better."

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