Copyright

Moss on whether copyright is a property right

With Congress possibly set to consider new ideas on copyright, R Street Tech Policy Manager Sasha Moss participated in a recent panel convened by America's Future Foundation to …

Setting the record straight on copyright modernization

There’s a lot to be said for the adage that "we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good." While true in many situations, it also …

R Street comments on NAFTA renegotiation

Founded in 2012, the R Street Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit pragmatic free-market think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. We support limited but effective government. We believe that …

Senate should either fix or get off the pot on Copyright Office bill

The U.S. Senate is about to consider mostly pointless legislation that would make the nation's register of copyrights—the individual who heads the U.S. Copyright Office, officially a part …

Moving Copyright Office authorities to executive branch could improve accountability

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow Jarrett Dieterle. An obscure debate about whether the U.S. Copyright Office should be part of the executive branch …

SXSW Roundup: What will AR/VR revolutionize next?

The experiential factor in augmented and virtual reality leads to a more vivid sense of presence and immersion, when compared to other media like television or radio. This …

R Street and CDT comments to the U.S. Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act safe harbor provisions

The Center for Democracy & Technology (“CDT”) and the R Street Institute (“R Street”) thank the Copyright Office for the opportunity to respond to its inquiry into the …

CTA previews Innovation Policy Day at SXSW

The Consumer Technology Association welcomed R Street Tech Policy Fellow Anne Hobson to take part in a recent Facebook Live panel to preview the Innovation Policy Day programming …

R Street and FreedomWorks comments on Goodlatte & Conyers policy proposal of copyright review

Dear Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers: FreedomWorks and the R Street Institute are pleased to submit the following comments on the Committee’s proposal to modernize and reform the …

Hobson talks ‘Poképolicy’ on the Tech Policy Podcast

Last summer's megahit game Pokémon Go was many Americans' first introduction to the notion of "augmented reality," in which artificial visuals are superimposed onto the real world. R …

The erosion of ownership in the digital age

When you buy a book from the store, no one doubts that you own it completely. You can take it home, write in its margins, lend it to …

It’s time for SCOTUS to weigh in on digital fair use

The following op-ed was co-authored by Charles Duan, director of the Patent Reform Project at Public Knowledge. It's been almost 10 years since Stephanie Lenz was informed by Universal …

Letter: No ‘copyright coup’ at all in Washington

Casting Dr. Carla Hayden as a puppet of the tech industry or the library-industrial complex diminishes the obvious accomplishments that led her to become the first African-American and …

Discussion: Government regulation and the internet of things

The R Street Institute hosted an expert panel last month to explore ways in which the “internet of things” is affecting cybersecurity, privacy and ownership rights. With cyberattacks …

A jack of all trades

The following op-ed was co-authored by Aaron Perzanowski,  professor of law at Case Western Reserve University. When Google announced its new line of Pixel smartphones, it directed some not-so-subtle …

Where is Pokemon Go-ing?

After 74 days on the market, Pokemon Go this week lost the top revenue spot in Apple’s U.S. app store to Clash Royale, although it remains the highest-grossing …

How pirates shaped the internet as we know it

Today is “International Talk like a Pirate Day.” While it’s a lot of fun to act like a pirate, drink rum and catch up on Errol Flynn movies, …

Musicians can’t always get what they want when politicians use their songs

It’s campaign season, which means politicians are stumping all around the country trying to win your vote. Candidates do this through a number of methods – television commercials, …

Louis Vuitton can’t take a joke

Charles Caleb Colton (and later, Oscar Wilde) is famous for the phrase, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” In the world of trademark, such "flattery" happens often. …

Musicians’ brief in ‘Blurred Lines’ case: Overly broad copyright stifles creativity

A group of musicians that includes John Oates of Hall & Oates, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Rikki Rocket of Poison has filed an amicus brief in the …

These songs are our songs

There are certain songs that live in our hearts as quintessentially American; songs that have taken their place in history and encapsulate the American spirit. Two of these …

The status quo for music licensing is far from perfect, but it works

The U.S. Justice Department last week concluded its multiyear review of consent decrees for the two largest performance rights organizations (PROs), the American Society of Composers (ASCAP) and …

R Street responds to DOJ review of ASCAP and BMI consent decrees

WASHINGTON (Aug. 4, 2016) – Following a two-year review of the antitrust consent decrees that govern coordinated action by the major performing rights organizations the American Society of …

The DOJ and the future of music

Music fans might be understandably puzzled by how it is that new revenues from the online streaming services like Pandora and Spotify could top $2.4 billion last year, yet …

Conservatives shoot selves in foot by obstructing librarian of Congress vote

President Barack Obama recently nominated Carla Hayden – a career professional library administrator – to serve as the retiring James Billington's successor as head of the Library of …

The Library of Congress needs a professional librarian, not a ‘scholar-in-chief’

From Bill of Rights Defense Committee: In the months following incumbent Librarian of Congress James Billington’s retirement, some conservatives have coalescedaround the idea that the next person to head the …

The Library of Congress needs a professional librarian, not a ‘scholar-in-chief’

In the months following incumbent Librarian of Congress James Billington's retirement, some conservatives have coalesced around the idea that the next person to head the library ought to …

A plea to Congress not to ‘fix’ a music market that isn’t broken

Dear Congress, By now, maybe you've read the "Dear Congress" letter that many music companies and individual artists have signed asking you to "fix" the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—a …

Congress, not DOJ or the courts, should decide whether to update music-copyright framework

Tom Lehrer’s famous recording of his song “New Math” begins with the joke that, in teaching basic mathematics in the New Math way, “the important thing is to …

Lessons from Prince’s legacy and struggle with digital music markets

Undeniably, Prince’s death last week marked the loss of a true musical genius and maverick. In his life, he was known for being a talented musical innovator with …

You, too, should celebrate the end of the Google Books litigation

If you felt a vibration in the air this morning, it may have been the final sigh of relief so many of us heaved when the U.S. Supreme …

R Street and Center for Democracy & Technology comments to U.S. Copyright Office on safe harbor provisions

See attached PDF. …

When copyright law jams your toaster

It seems clear enough that copyright law ought not prevent users from programming a digital device that they own outright. We at R Street have said this before …

Would ‘100 percent licensing’ unshackle the market for music, or make it worse?

As we’ve covered in recent months here at the R Street Institute, the U.S. Justice Department is in the midst of its review (and possible modification) of the …

Joint brief from libertarian groups on U.S. Copyright Office software study

The attached brief was co-signed by Ryan Hagemann of the Niskanen Center and Wayne T. Brough of FreedomWorks.  The signatories listed below are libertarian organizations whose mission is to engage in …

Happy Fair Use Week from the R Street Institute

Every time anyone create a meme or posts a gif to social media that makes use of someone else's original idea, he or she is engaged in "fair …

Comments to U.S. Copyright Office on embedded software

The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization (“think tank”), whose mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets …

David Bowie’s legacy on copyright and the future of music

The following was co-authored by R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin. Amid the steady stream of "hot takes" the past few weeks on the legacy of the late …

Cosplay and the courts

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a...cease and desist order? This week, a panic spread among cosplayers that a recent Supreme Court case on copyright infringement might have …

Video introduction to the Re:Create Coalition

The video below was filmed to introduce the world to the Re:Create Coalition, a broad collection of groups from across the ideological spectrum who agree on the need …

Copyright Week: R Street’s greatest hits!

Advocacy groups and think tanks across the nation are celebrating Copyright Week this week, intended to highlight a series of discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright …

These are not the free market rates you’re looking for

This piece was co-authored by R Street Digital Director Zach Graves.  America’s music-copyright world was shaken up in December when the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) issued its long-awaited rate …

Transparency in music licensing and the statutory remedy problem

The modern conversation about music copyright has been shaped by the emergence of new digital business models. As these new markets for music open, one might expect the …

Remarks prepared for Re:Create Coalition briefing

In the sweaty summer of 1787, our Founding Fathers created the oldest working written constitution in the world. This document, as those of us on the political right …

How should libertarians think about intellectual property?

Watch R Street's Sasha Moss along with Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute, Wayne Brough of FreedomWorks and Eli Dourado of the Mercatus Center in a panel moderated by Reason's …

Google Books is good for everybody

In 1990, Pierre N. Leval, then serving as a federal judge, ran across an unexpected stumbling block while crafting a Harvard Law Review article about the “fair use” doctrine …

Hey NFL, leave my GIFs alone!

It appears the National Football League is cracking down on the unauthorized proliferation of GIFs and Vines of league-owned content. Sometimes these snippets are of funny incidents or for …

Imbalanced ‘incentives’ hurt creativity more than they help

Are lawyers the driving force behind artistic freedom? Astonishingly, that's the impression you get when you read the Copyright Alliance's account of a recent panel on music copyright …

R Street’s primers on music-licensing laws, decisions and terminology

To aid legal, media and policy discussions about ongoing issues in the worlds of music licensing and copyright, R Street has prepared what we hope will prove a …

Re:Create Coalition urges Congress to modernize Copyright Office

We write today to discuss Copyright Office modernization, an important issue with serious implications for all Americans. We represent all parts of the “information ecosystem”—creators, innovators, users—and, consequently, …

Split works debate raises thorny issues for music companies (and for the rest of us)

The following piece was co-authored by Google Policy Fellow Sasha Moss. Michael Corleone would understand. Just when music companies and their performance-rights organization (PROs) thought they were getting out …

Appeals court considers ITC bid to be Internet cop

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard oral arguments this week in what might otherwise be described as an obscure patent case, ClearCorrect v. International Trade …

Free-market groups urge International Trade Commission not to assert authority over digital transmissions

Dear Chairwoman Broadbent, On behalf of the undersigned free-market organizations, we write to express our deep concern about the International Trade Commission's April 9, 2014 decision in investigation 337-TA-833. …

Je ne suis pas Google

The French government's privacy-regulation agency decided in June to order Google Inc. to remove (or "delist") from all Google websites worldwide – not just those in France or …

Congressional Internet Caucus and ‘fractally complex’ music licensing

Speaking at a July 17 discussion hosted by the Congressional Internet Caucus on music streaming and Congress' role in the world of music licensing, caucus Advisory Committee Executive …

Judge fixes troubling court order in CloudFlare filtering case

I've written before to express skepticism about whether it makes sense for a federal court to order a content-delivery network like CloudFlare to filter its services proactively for …

Two tables show how complicated music-copyright rate-setting is

Even after you’ve learned the basics of U.S. copyright law, once you delve into music copyrights, you discover an even more complex—I like to say "fractally complex"—framework at …

Pandora’s radio station purchase just latest twist in labyrinth of music rights

Anyone who follows the ongoing disagreements between Pandora and the publishers rights organizations (PROs, including the two giants, the American Society of Composers and Broadcast Music Inc.) is …

Supreme Court missed opportunity to clarify copyright law in API case

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2015) – The U.S. Supreme Court's decision earlier today not to hear arguments in Google Inc. v. Oracle America Inc. represents a missed opportunity to …

Don’t cast CloudFlare as copyright/trademark enforcer

You may be used to thinking of the Internet as being built of:  Services that directly connect you to the Internet; Services that offer their own content to the Internet; …

USTR doesn’t need an IP czar

In a Congress that is likely this year to pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation, aimed at making trade agreements easier, you may ask why pro-free-trade legislators also proposing …

Free trade doesn’t have to be a trade secret

Secrecy around the conduct of international trade agreements has been tightening, in what amounts to a disturbing and counterproductive trend. This lack of transparency gives additional fodder to …

Solicitor General drops the ball in Oracle v. Google copyright case

You probably already know it’s baseball season, but you may have missed some particularly interesting inside baseball going on in the world of copyright law and policy. The most …

General Motors says it’s just loaning you your car’s software

Imagine a world in which automakers declared that, even though you own most of the vehicle you purchased from your auto dealer, you don’t own the tires. No, …

Copyright lobby seeks new hammer to pound free speech in Florida

Anonymity and pseudonymity have been key threads in the fabric of American life since the Colonial era. From arts to politics, from the Revolutionary era-tracts known as Cato’s …

Ninth Circuit strikes down order that YouTube take down ‘Innocence of Muslims’

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned an order that YouTube take down the infamous video "Innocence of Muslims," rejecting an actress' claim that her brief …

Copyright, pharmaceutical enforcement shouldn’t be imposed on ICANN

Since 1998, U.S. policy has held that the Internet’s “IANA functions” — the technical functions collectively referred to as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, administered by ICANN.org — …

How the DMCA is turning ownership into ‘loanership’

The following piece was co-authored by R Street Innovation Policy Director Mike Godwin. During the Great Depression, farm-equipment giant John Deere Co. famously refused to repossess tractors it had …

R Street joins coalition to promote balanced copyright law, creativity and free speech

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2015) – Organizations from across the political spectrum, companies and associations joined forces today to launch Re:Create, a new coalition dedicated to promoting balanced copyright laws …

TPA: Trading up for a better deal

I have the National Football League draft, set to start April 30, on my mind this week. As fellow Philadelphia Eagles fans know, there is major speculation about whether …

R Street expresses concerns about TPA bills

WASHINGTON (April 20, 2015) – The R Street Institute expressed reservations today about H.R. 1890, better known as the "Trade Promotion Authority" bill, introduced April 17 by House …

Diverse group of advocacy organizations, intellectual property experts come together in opposition to Florida digital goods bill

WASHINGTON – Today, a diverse group of advocacy organizations issued a joint public statement in opposition to the True Origin of Digital Goods Act being considered by the …

Coalition letter to ITC over international digital data transmission

The attached letter to U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman Meredith M. Broadbent from a coalition of 26 organizations and scholars (including R Street) critiques the commission's April 2014 …

Parliament’s lone Pirate wants copyright restrictions to walk the plank

Geo-blocking is more than just an annoyance. Which is why Julia Reda, the sole member of the Pirate Party serving as a member in the European Parliament, is …

‘Blurred Lines’ decision offers blurry conception of copyright

A federal jury seated in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has handed down a $7.4 million verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, asserting the pair's 2013 …

Letter from 33 groups on copyright reform

The attached letter from 33 advocacy groups urges Congress to take simple targeted steps to curb copyright infringement and frivolous lawsuits, but to avoid regulatory overreach that would …

Mother Teresa, Tiger Woods and the use of IP as censorship

Trumbull, Conn. is a town of 36,000 in suburban Fairfield County, perhaps best known for winning the 1989 Little League World Series and for being the hometown of …

Fair Use: Getting by with a little help from our friends

Is it legal for me to publish a blog post with this title? Am I violating copyright law? I am, after all, reusing lyrics from the chorus of …

R Street applauds introduction of YODA

WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2015) - The R Street Institute is encouraged by today's introduction of the You Own Devices Act, or  "YODA," sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas. The bill …

Internet ain’t broke, don’t let AG try to fix it

For all that we complain about the Internet from time to time, the fact is, for the most part, we love the Internet. Yet not all of us …

Debbie and Sheila’s night out at the Grammys

I'll be rounding up the highlights from last night's Grammy Awards a bit later, but suffice it to say, if you didn't watch it, you missed very little. …

Amicus brief in Google v Hood

Amici Curiae submit this brief because the stakes of this case go well beyond the particular burden the attorney general's investigation may place on one service provider. This …

Tools for transparency in copyright law

Over the span of one week in October 2014, Google received requests to remove more than 11 million URLs from its search engine due to copyright-infringement claims. Enshrined in …

It’s Copyright Week! Let’s talk about copyright cronyism

Every year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a host of other organizations -- including think tanks, trade groups and public interest advocates -- align their efforts for one …

What D.C.’s food scene can teach us about copyright law

As Congress prepares for another battle over copyright law, D.C. policy wonks seeking guidance need look no further than the way the local restaurant scene has developed. Though …

Play EFF’s fantastic copyright crossword

This holiday season, our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have put together this fantastic crossword puzzle (also available in electronic and printable formats), comprised of clues relating …

Sony hack reveals celebrity gossip, plot to undermine free and open Internet

Hollywood media have feasted this month on  thousands of emails and internal documents leaked as part of a massive breach of Sony Pictures by the hacker group “Guardians …

Revealed: Little-known Mississippi attorney general go-to man for Hollywood

It’s easy to see how Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood—a Bible-reading, pro-gun, pro-life Democrat—has survived in statewide office even as his already conservative state has turned a deeper …

Gone Google: Europe is pushing to limit Internet companies

Europe's battle against large Internet companies (or should we just say Google?) wages on. Spain just introduced a new intellectual property law that will require Spanish news publications …

Should music publishers be an antitrust concern?

On Aug. 6, a letter arrived at the U.S. Department of Justice from someone writing anonymously under the name John Doe. Mr. Doe was seeking to persuade the …

ITC: The new digital cop?

Do you know where your e-mail account is located? No, "the Internet" is not a valid answer. More specifically, do you know on which of Google's many servers …

How SOPA would have cost the content industry billions

Ever since the advent of Internet-based, user generated mass media, Hollywood has been fighting a losing game of whack-a-mole against ordinary online users who share copyright-protected material in …

Search engines, free advertising and the content industry

In 1925, a music industry professional complained to the New York Times that the new medium of radio was destroying the industry's business model by making songs too …

Transformation, tests and t-shirts

Intellectual property laws sometimes pit different camps of creators against each other. On the one hand, makers want the freedom to pull inspiration from works that have already …

Pornographers choke in ‘Deep Throat’ case

While Hollywood is often known as one of the groups most fiercely committed to protecting copyrighted works, a recent case shows that even in Tinseltown, the veto power …

The unfortunate rise of data protectionism

The age of Internet exceptionalism is at risk of coming to a close. Thus far, the Internet has served as a platform for data transfer and information sharing …

YODA takes on the dark side of copyright enforcement

Imagine the following scenario: You buy a computer secondhand off eBay at a bargain price that would put most computer stores out of business. You then boot up …

Nicki Minaj and the rule of law

Conservatives have long stood for the principle that the state ought to abide by the rule of law. Application of the law ought to be uniform across all …

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the broken copyright law

Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is fond of saying that one must never alter facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. Given …

Vote for R Street at SXSW 2015

We've put together four awesome panels for SXSW Interactive. Your vote can help us bring free market ideas to Austin's annual gathering of 30,000 technologists, activists, and entrepreneurs. Please …

Conservatives debate IP: A right or a privilege?

Can copyrights and other intellectual property be treated the same as physical property rights, and just how far should that analogy be taken? Those were among the key issues …

Upcoming Google hangout on copyright reform

We'll be hosting a Google Hangout with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Competitive Enterprise Institute to discuss copyright reform on Thursday, …

Listen to Madison on copyright

More than 200 years ago, James Madison warned us that copyright and patents, being "monopolies," "must be guarded with strictness aga[inst] abuse." Today that abuse is manifest: copyright …

Unconstitutionally long copyright terms stifle content creation, just ask Disney

The R Street Institute recently released a report on copyright duration titled: "Guarding Against Abuse -- Restoring Constitutional Copyright." The report examines how copyright terms today are completely …

The conservative case for taking on the copyright lobby

Today, the R Street Institute released a report on copyright duration titled "Guarding against abuse: Restoring constitutional copyright." In recent decades, a number of special interests called the "copyright …

R Street paper calls for shortened copyright terms and examination of international treaties

WASHINGTON (April 30, 2014) -- U.S. copyright term lengths must be shortened and lawmakers should heed warnings handed down by the founders about the dangers of copyright as …

Guarding against abuse: Restoring constitutional copyright

Copyrights are intended to encourage creative works through the mechanism of a statutorily created limited property right. Under both economic and legal analysis, they are recognized as a …

The Supreme Court case that will decide the future of television

In the past decade, home-media consumption of television content has changed significantly. Millions of people, particularly among younger generations, are becoming cord-cutters and converting to Netflix or Hulu. …

‘Innocence of Muslims’ ruling raises host of questions

Remember the video that President Obama cited as the reason behind the attacks in Benghazi? The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has voted 2-1 to order the video …

Coalition concerned about changes to Unlocking Consumer Choice Act

February 25, 2014 Dear Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, We the undersigned organizations and individuals are extremely disappointed in the addition of a poison pill amendment to …

Reasons to fight back today

There comes a point when people just can't take it anymore, when frustration and anger boil over into public displays. Two years ago, that anger manifested in the …

A day to fight back

Hoping to capture the same grassroots outcry that successfully blocked ham-handed anti-piracy bills SOPA and PIPA two years ago, a number of organizations on both the left and …

Scalise to the retrans reform rescue

I've been working on the issue of retransmission consent, the process by which broadcasters and television service providers negotiate a price for delivering video content to consumers, for …

Econ lesson for PIPA author

I don’t always find myself in agreement with Dean Baker, co-director of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research. But over at his Beat the Press blog, …

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