As Live 8 threatens to overwhelm the news this week, Own It brings you a globally aware IP round-up.
4 July 2005
Kicking off this week's Own It round-up is the US Supreme Court decision to allow file-sharing networks to be sued if they promote illegal downloading. Previously, US file-sharing sites had been able to rely on a 1984 judgement regarding Sony Betamax video recorders (remember them?) that meant they escaped liability if there was significant legal use of the technology.
This changed last week when the Supreme Court held that if any device (including software) was distributed “with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright” the distributor could be liable for any resulting copyright infringements.
Moving now to the UK, a three-year row between legal music download sites and an alliance of musicians, composers and music publishers has been referred to the Copyright Tribunal.
The dispute concerns the amount of royalties paid to artists by the likes of Apple iTunes, Napster and Yahoo! when their music is downloaded. The artists, represented by the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), want a bigger cut from downloads than the 6.5% they currently receive from CD sales. MCPS argues that the costs of online music distribution are lower than those for CDs and wants artists to take 12% from every download. The download sites have refused to budge and have referred the matter for mediation.