ArtsWatch: New Copyright Office Manual Goes Public

Public comments invited for 1,200-page revision of copyright administrative manual
August 25, 2014 -- 6:32 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Copyright Compendium's Third Edition To Be "Living, Electronic Document"
On Aug. 19 the Copyright Office released online a public draft of the Compendium Of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, a revision open to the public as well as in-house employees. In development for more than two and a half years, the 1,222-page third edition is "the first major revision in more than two decades" and will take effect in mid-December. "The new compendium is an exhaustive undertaking that explains and reconciles the many legal interpretations, regulations and procedures of the Copyright Office in administering the copyright law," said Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante. "At the same time, it provides a necessary and authoritative foundation for ongoing policy and regulatory discussions that are pertinent to the digital era." Ongoing public comments will be a welcome part of this dramatic step forward in access and transparency. The office provided an online comment form and is soliciting feedback on the document's "readability, clarity, coverage, and usability."

Takedown Notices Near 1 Million Per Day
Google published an updated Transparency Report on Aug. 20 revealing that the reports of infringement it receives have reached nearly 1 million takedown notices per day. In January both IFPI and RIAA noted that the total number of industry takedown notices given to Google had topped 100 million, a figure that now seems low given this year's up-tempo pace. In March Recording Academy New York Chapter Board member Maria Schneider testified on behalf of The Academy before the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee reviewing copyright. She detailed the day-to-day struggles of an independent artist battling the widespread infringement of her work online. "Taking my music down from these sites is a frustrating and depressing process," said Schneider. "As fast as I take my music down, it reappears again on the same site."

As Aereo Fights To Survive, Simple.tv Launches Internet Sharing Feature
Broadcasters have been arguing in court against Internet TV service Aereo's reported survival since the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling that Aereo's business model was an infringing public performance. Last week Simple.tv launched a limited sharing feature that raises similar questions about legality, but the company is confident it has worked out the details so courts will consider this latest feature to be private. "The latest sharing feature grants access to the viewer while they are logged in and does not allow for posting video content to the Internet or social media sites, nor can they download the content on their own device," said Simple.tv CEO Mark Ely. "As such, that still falls well within private performance, so we don't anticipate any legal repercussions or issues with permission from content holders." Simple.tv gained a foothold in the market as a low-cost digital video recorder that allows recordings to be viewed online. Its new guest pass program allows users to select up to five friends and family members to access recorded shows.

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

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