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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.
The House Judiciary Committee's Nov. 16 hearing on H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, resulted in extensive opposition to the bill. The Recording Academy supports this legislation. Addressing just one of the following list of objections, RIAA Senior Executive Vice President Mitch Glazier encouraged those in opposition to the bill to ask the question, "What specific legislative proposal do you have that would meaningfully address this problem?" For those who would appreciate a quick review of the problem of rogue websites, the MPAA recently released several helpful video spots. Among the opposing views:
Those are just a few of the most prominent objections — EFF provides a longer list of the "explosion of opposition." On Nov. 15 Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said they were working on a rogue website bill that would take an alternative approach. The Stop Online Piracy Act has certainly focused attention on the problem and drawn a multitude of pledges to collaborate with lawmakers on more narrowly drafted alternatives. Meanwhile, Internet companies have benefitted from the online status quo and intellectual property owners have been hurt by it, so now is a great time for innovators to propose workable legal solutions to the ongoing piracy problem presented by rogue websites.
On Nov. 10 the RIAA sent a cease-and-desist letter to used MP3 marketplace ReDigi that read, "There can be no doubt that ReDigi's conduct constitutes willful copyright infringement." The service responded that its "method of managing the sale of a digital music file in the secondary market is far superior, in protecting the rights of copyright holders, to anything available in any other secondary market." ReDigi is relying on the untested Digital First Sale doctrine to protect its business model.
The RIAA complained to PCWorld that Google refused to remove the MP3 Music Download Pro app from its Android Market despite a takedown request in August. Although the app can conceivably be used for legal downloads, it facilitates illegal downloading and, although monitoring the Android Market for other similar apps would be a burden for Google, this app's popular status has earned it special attention.
Apple launched its iTunes Match cloud-streaming service as part of its Nov. 14 iTunes update. The service costs $24.99 a year — primarily intended for distribution to music rights owners — and imposes a capacity limit of 25,000 tracks. Tracks purchased directly from the iTunes Music Store do not count toward the limit.
On Nov. 10 the Copyright Office announced that the Library of Congress has begun a job search for the position of chief copyright royalty judge of the Copyright Royalty Board. Applications are due Nov. 28 and attorney candidates must have at least seven years of legal experience.
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