Thursday, May 11, 2017

The tech industry is eroding copyright law. Here's how to stop it; Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2017

Jonathan Taplin, Los Angeles Times; The tech industry is eroding copyright law. Here's how to stop it

"The only way to get Internet companies to honor the widely accepted understanding of fair use is to make it law. Although the current legal definition makes one thing crystal clear — you cannot use a work in its entirety and still claim fair use — it leaves many aspects of the doctrine open to interpretation. The Registrar of Copyrights should codify a 30-second time limit for audio and video clips and require that content be used in a transformative or interpretive way.

With concrete guidelines in place, regulation would have to be built in. For instance, when a user asserts fair use for a work that YouTube identifies as being blocked by the copyright holder, the clip would have to be sent to a human screener for evaluation. If it is longer than 30 seconds or does not appear in a transformative work, the clip would remain blocked. YouTube already has this process in place for screening pornography, ISIS videos and the like.

The ambiguous definition of fair use allows for its continued abuse, and this abuse has become a gateway for the further eroding of copyright law. By now it is well understood that the rise of tech monopolies such as YouTube and Google has hastened the decline of publishing industries. If we don’t move to safeguard copyright law now, there will be no new content to remix."

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