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Copyright and Technology NYC 2016: Early Bird Registration Now Live November 23, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events.
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Registration is now available for our next Copyright and Technology conference, which will be at the Kimmel Center at NYU on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.  As you can see from the agenda, the conference is filling up with lots of great speakers — although we have room for more on some panels.  If you would like to propose a speaker, please email me with the following information:

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Contact info
  • Panel(s) being proposed
  • Perspective and experience related to the panel topic

In addition, as in the past, we are offering sponsorship opportunities, including the opportunity to work with us in creating a plenary session on a topic of importance to the digital copyright community (no sales pitches please).  Please inquire and we’d be happy to send you a prospectus with details.

Otherwise, please register today!  Early bird pricing ends Friday, December 11.


Crowdsourced Cover Collections: A Copyright Conundrum November 17, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Law, Music, Services.

A friend recently introduced me to a website called Cover Me, in which contributors write about cover versions of songs.  There are artist-cover anthologies, lists of “Five Good Covers” of oft-covered songs, and entire albums’ worth of cover versions.  Accompanying text describes the songs, the original artists, and the various cover versions.  Sometimes the “art” is in finding cover versions of obscure songs; other times it’s in selecting among many cover versions of better-known songs and putting together an interesting collection.

Entire albums featured on this site include Led Zeppelin III, XTC’s Skylarking, and several Ramones albums.  The site is run by Ray Padgett, a Brooklynite whose day job is at a small PR/social media firm.

Now here’s the conundrum.  All of the song titles link to audio of the cover versions. Some are simply links to files on SoundCloud, YouTube, or other hosting sites, while others are links to iTunes or Amazon purchase pages.  But many others are downloadable MP3s hosted on the site, with embedded MP3 players for streaming the music.  Most of these tracks are available on YouTube; some are available on Spotify.

My friend told me that the site will take the MP3 files down when requested, although it does not have a written copyright policy.  The site does not carry ads and has no apparent source of revenue; the contributors are volunteers.

What do you think?  Fair use or not?



Partnership with Stroz Friedberg November 3, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Law.
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As some of you know, over the past several years I have occasionally served as an expert witness and consultant in litigations on digital media, copyright, and related issues.  I’m now thrilled to announce a partnership between my firm, GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, and Stroz Friedberg. Stroz Friedberg is a global leader in cybersecurity, digital forensics, investigations and risk management, as well as IP litigation consulting and IP strategy and analytics. They have been involved in such high-profile and diverse matters as Oracle USA, Inc. et al. v. Rimini Street, Inc. et al. (copyright case), Paul Ceglia vs. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder’s contract dispute), Enron’s “Nigerian Barge” trial (as the government’s expert), and Silicon Knights, Inc. v. Epic Games, Inc. (copyright case).

I had the good fortune to work side by side recently with some experts from Stroz Friedberg on a couple of different cases, and a partnership between my firm and theirs was a natural next step.  Stroz Friedberg’s depth of knowledge, intelligence, diligence, and effectiveness are very impressive, and they are a pleasure to work with.  We will be supporting each other in future engagements as needs arise, enabling GiantSteps and Stroz Friedberg to complement our mutual areas of expertise and bring a broader array of capabilities to our clients.

The Mysterious Case of the Fake Beatles Cover October 29, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Music, Rights Licensing.
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Several big-name recording artists have been “digital holdouts” who have refused to license their material for distribution through interactive streaming music services like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Rhapsody, and so on.  One by one, most of them eventually gave in and joined the crowd: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Kid Rock, Def Leppard, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Frank Zappa.  Only a tiny number of artists remain digital holdouts by choice, including the biggest one of all: the Beatles.  Or are they?

A curious phenomenon occurs around digital holdouts: other artists distribute cover versions of the digital holdouts’ tunes and create appropriate metadata, so that users searching for the big-name artists find the cover versions and play them.  This results in royalties for the cover artists even if the music wasn’t what the users expected. Cover versions with the right metadata are also picked up by Internet radio services.  So, if you searched for “Led Zeppelin” or started a “Led Zeppelin Radio” channel before Led Zep licensed its music to the interactive services, you might have heard Zep covers from a band called Led Zepagain.  When Interscope held Carly Rae Jepsen’s monster hit “Call Me Maybe” back from interactive services a couple of years ago, users heard a cover version by an unknown singer.

If you listen to “Beatles Radio” on a pure Internet radio service like Pandora, you will hear Beatles tunes every once in a while.  That’s because Internet radio services have statutory licenses that allow them to play any song at all, as long as they pay appropriate royalties to record labels and songwriters.  (Similarly, anyone can record a cover version of any song.) But an interactive service can’t offer any song for on-demand listening unless the rights holders have licensed it to do so.

Yet something curious happened while I was listening to “Beatles Radio” on Google Play Music the other day. I heard a version of the Beatles song “In My Life” (a lesser-known track from the Rubber Soul album*) that sounded suspiciously like the real thing — even though the artist was listed as “Liverpool Beat,” not the Beatles. The radio feature on Google Play Music lets you go back and repeat songs you heard previously if Google Play has interactive streaming rights to them.  Sure enough, I was able to play “In My Life” as many times as I wanted.  Then I compared it with a download of the actual Beatles song.  Allowing for differences in codec quality, they were absolutely identical.  That’s right: this was a fake Beatles cover.

Apparently, Liverpool Beat is one of a couple of Beatles cover bands that are designed to sub in for the Beatles in circumstances similar to Led Zepagain for the real Zeppelin.  (There are also a couple of Beatles tribute bands called Liverpool Beat that play bars, weddings, etc., but this is different.)  Liverpool Beat has dozens of Beatles songs available on the major interactive streaming services — including Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music — from all phases of the Beatles’ career.  I listened to all of them.  They range in quality from mediocre to pretty decent imitations, but they are clearly not the Beatles… except for “In My Life.”  That’s definitely John Lennon singing and George Martin’s double-speed piano solo.

Evidently someone uploaded the real Beatles track to a distributor that feeds to the interactive streaming services.  It was included with other Beatles covers by Liverpool Beat on a four-part “album” called… wait for it… Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Given that the Beatles’ online distribution is tightly controlled and exclusive to iTunes downloads, and that the terms of their 2011 deal with Apple are unique in the industry, this is just a little bit remarkable.  The question is, whodunnit?  Here’s a poll:

Update: through further research, I found the likely source(s) of Beatles covers by “Liverpool Beat.”  I’ve written an article on Forbes about it.  Props to Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader and David Leibowitz of CH Potomac for help.

*There is no point in calling it a “classic.” All Beatles songs and albums are classics.

Copyright and Technology Conference Returns to NYC October 29, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events.
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I’m pleased to announce that the Copyright and Technology Conference is returning to New York.  Our next event will be Tuesday, January 19, at the Kimmel Center at NYU, Eisner & Lubin Auditorium.  After a three-year hiatus in London, we’re back and better than ever.

I am especially proud to announce my new partners in the conference: the Copyright Society of the USA and Musonomics.  The Copyright Society is a leading professional association for attorneys and others involved in the copyright field; it is well known and respected for its events around the country, its Journal, and its influence through the industry honors it offers.  The Copyright Society will be handling event registration, which will be up and running shortly, as well as New York State CLE credits for attendees.  I’m working with Eleanor Lackman, co-chair of the NYC chapter of the Copyright Society and a partner at the law firm of Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard, who has been a speaker at past Copyright and Technology conferences.

Musonomics is a music industry consultancy founded by Larry Miller, a highly respected digital music executive who now runs the Music Business program at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.  Musonomics is also a very informative and timely podcast about the music business.

The agenda for the conference is posted.  Our keynote speaker will be Jacqueline Charlesworth, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office.  We’re accepting proposals to speak and moderate panels through Friday November 20; proposals to moderate panels will be given priority.  Please email proposals to me with the following information:

  • Name
  • Organization
  • Contact info
  • Panel(s) being proposed
  • Perspective and experience related to the panel topic

In addition, as in the past, we are offering sponsorship opportunities, including the opportunity to work with us in creating a plenary session on a topic of importance to the digital copyright community (no sales pitches please).  Please inquire and we’d be happy to send you a prospectus with details.

Roundtable Discussion October 14th: Algorithms and the DMCA Post-Lenz October 2, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Uncategorized.
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I wlll be appearing as the featured guest speaker at a roundtable discussion at Fordham Law School in NYC on Wednesday, October 14th at 8:45-10:00 am.  We’ll discuss the state of algorithms for monitoring online services and detecting possible copyright infringements, and what effect the recent decision in Lenz v UMG might have on them.  I’ll be providing some background on the relevant technologies and industry practices.  The event is part of the Fordham Center for Law and Information Policy (CLIP) monthly roundtable series.

This event is by invitation only, so if you’re interested in attending, please email me.

Forbes: Is Ad Blocking the New Piracy? September 25, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Economics, Law.

My latest column in Forbes takes the Apple’s decision to add ad-blocking primitives to iOS 9 as an occasion to look at the fast-growing phenomenon blocking ads in web browsers, and specifically to compare it to online copyright infringement.

Both developments lead to revenue losses for content publishers.  Both are occasioned by technological tools that make it easy and (in most cases) free for non-tech-savvy consumers to do.  And both have engendered cottage industries of technologies that attempt to combat the phenomena.  The article deals with the revenue models for such companies and the industry factions that are lining up on the sides of these debates.

The upshot is that ad-blocking is not a “Big Media vs. Big Tech” issue; it is more accurately described as a “Big Media and Some of Big Tech vs. Other Big Tech” issue.  In particular, Google — which earns over 90% of its revenue from ads — is not a big fan of ad blocking.  The trade associations that are addressing the ad-blocking issue appear to be learning lessons from the Copyright Wars by trying to establish best practices for online advertising that, if adopted, could avoid technological arms races.

Ninth Circuit Calls for Takedown Notices to Address Fair Use September 15, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Fingerprinting, Law, Music.
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This past Monday’s ruling from the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court in Lenz v. Universal Music Group, a/k/a the Dancing Baby Video case, is being hailed as an important one in establishing the role of fair use in the online world.  The case involved a common enough occurrence: a homemade video clip of someone’s child, with music (Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”) in the background, posted to YouTube.*  UMG sent a takedown notice, Stephanie Lenz sent a counter-notice, and an eight-year legal battle ensued.  Monday’s ruling was not a decision on the defendant’s liability but merely a denial of summary judgment, meaning that case will now go to trial.

The three-judge panel produced two important holdings: first, that fair use is really a user’s right, and not just an affirmative defense to a charge of infringement.  The second is that copyright holders have to take fair use into account in issuing DMCA takedown notices.  As we’ll discuss here, this will have some effect on copyright holders’ ability to use automated means to enforce copyright online.

Under the DMCA (Section 512 of U.S. copyright law), online service providers can avoid copyright liability if they respond to notices requesting that allegedly infringing material be taken down.  Notices have to comply with legal requirements, one of which is a good faith belief that the user who put the work up online was not authorized to do so.  This court now says that fair use is not merely a defense to a charge of infringement — to be asserted after the copyright holder files a lawsuit — but is actually a form of authorization.

It follows that the copyright holder must profess a good faith belief that the user wasn’t making a fair use of the work in order for a takedown notice to be valid. The court also held that this good faith belief can be “subjective” rather than based on objective facts; but it’s ultimately up to a jury to decide whether it buys the complainant’s basis for its good faith belief is valid.

The question for us here is how this ruling will affect the technologies and automated processes that many copyright owners use to police their works online, often through copyright monitoring services like MarkMonitor, Muso, Friend MTS, Entura, and various others.  These services use fingerprinting and other techniques to identify content online, create takedown notices from templates, and send them — many thousands per day — to online services.  Page 19 of the Lenz decision contains a hint:

“We note, without passing judgment, that the implementation of computer algorithms appears to be a valid and good faith middle ground for processing a plethora of content while still meeting the DMCA’s requirements to somehow consider fair use. . . . For example, consideration of fair use may be sufficient if copyright holders utilize computer programs that automatically identify for takedown notifications content where: (1) the video track matches the video track of a copyrighted work submitted by a content owner; (2) the audio track matches the audio track of that same copyrighted work; and (3) nearly the entirety . . . is comprised of a single copyrighted work. . . . Copyright holders could then employ [humans] to review the minimal remaining content a computer program does not cull.” (Internal citations and quotation marks omitted.)

At the same time, another clue lies in pp. 31-32, in a footnote to Judge Milan Smith’s partial dissent:

“The majority opinion implies that a copyright holder could form a good faith belief that a work was not a fair use by utilizing computer programs that automatically identify possible infringing content. I agree that such programs may be useful in identifying infringing content. However, the record does not disclose whether these programs are currently capable of analyzing fair use. Section 107 specifically enumerates the factors to be considered in analyzing fair use. These include: ‘the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes’; ‘the nature of the copyrighted work; ‘the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole’; and ‘the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.’ 17 U.S.C. § 107. For a copyright holder to rely solely on a computer algorithm to form a good faith belief that a work is infringing, that algorithm must be capable of applying the factors enumerated in § 107.”

To follow this ruling, takedown notices will now presumably have to contain language that describes the copyright holder’s good faith belief that the user who posted the file did not have a fair use right.  This can be a “subjective” basis, and the source of that information cannot “solely” be a “computer algorithm.”

It is, of course, impossible for any computer algorithm to determine whether a copy of a file was made by fair use; there is no such thing as a “fair use deciding machine.”  But that’s not what’s required here — only evidence that some (unspecified portion) of the four fair use factors were not met, other than “because I said so.”  Two of the four factors are easy: “the nature of the copyrighted work” ought to be self-evident to the owner of the copyright, and today’s widely-used content recognition tools can determine whether “the amount and substantiality of the portion used” was the entire work.  The majority in Lenz suggested that this latter factor “may be sufficient . . . for consideration of fair use.”  Apart from that, for example, the fact that a file appears on a website touting “Free MP3 downloads!” and featuring banner ads could be cited as evidence of an “effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work” or “the purpose and character of the use.”

In other words, some of the characterizations of a work as “not fair use” that are often written into lawsuit complaints (written by lawyers) may have to find their way into takedown notices (generated automatically by technology).  As a practical matter, copyright monitoring services may want to produce takedown notices with more situation-specific information in order to pass the non-fair use test — such as characterizations of the online service or other circumstances in which works are found.  This could require a greater number of different takedown notice templates and more effort required to populate them with specifics before sending them to online services — yet the processes still ought to be automatable.

The upshot of the Lenz decision, then, is that copyright holders may have to go to somewhat more effort to generated automated takedown notices under the DMCA that will survive a court challenge.  Just how much more effort and how much more verbiage in notices is necessary will be a subject for the Lenz trial and future litigations.  But today’s basic paradigm of copyright monitoring services using content recognition algorithms and other technological tools to automate enforcement processes is likely to continue, largely unchanged.

*I had a very similar experience two years ago.  I took a video of my daughter’s dance recital on my smartphone from the audience, and I posted it on YouTube under a private URL known only to her uncles and grandparents. UMG issued a takedown notice — on one of the three one-minute-long song samples used in that dance routine.  I tried filing a counter-notice, which UMG denied; so I gave up and emailed the clip to the relatives.  I suspect that no human ever analyzed this clip: the Jennifer Lopez track that UMG complained of was one of two tracks owned by UMG, while the other, a techno track by Basement Jaxx, is one that services like Shazam have a hard time recognizing.

The Myth of DRM-Free Music May 31, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Music, United States.

The annual IDPF Digital Book conference took place this week in New York, as part of the BookExpo America trade show for the publishing industry.  You can count on two topics being discussed at any book publishing conference: Amazon and DRM.  IDPF Digital Book 2015 was no exception.  One particular panel featured writers from leading book industry trade magazines, and the moderator was Joe Wikert, a well-respected digital publishing executive who is an outspoken opponent of DRM.  The discussion turned to the pros and cons of “walled gardens” such as Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem.  Wikert remarked on how quickly the music industry got rid of DRM and suggested (as he often does) that book publishers should follow.

The usual story is that the music industry went DRM-free in 2009 when Apple completed its removal of DRM from its vast iTunes music catalog.  But how true is that?  Not very, as it turns out.  I’d argue not only that DRM never really went away but that it’s making a comeback.

The first thing to recognize is that downloaded files are the only mode of digital music delivery in which the music isn’t encrypted.  All on-demand music services (Spotify, Rhapsody, Google Play Music, Beats Music, etc.) encrypt streams as well as music tracks that users download for “offline listening.”  And all forms of digital radio — Internet (Pandora), Satellite (SiriusXM), and digital TV (Music Choice) — are encrypted.

These modes of delivery are now more popular than download purchases.  Music download sales peaked in 2012 and have moved into sharp decline.  Based on publicly available subscribership figures and studies such as Edison Research and Triton Digital’s The Infinite Dial, I estimate the total U.S. active monthly listenership to on-demand music services in the 60-70 million range.  That’s counting the use of YouTube as a de facto on-demand music service, which The Infinite Dial estimates as more than four times that of Spotify.  (The study says that 73% of YouTube music users don’t even watch the videos but just listen.)  Internet radio, led by Pandora and iHeartRadio, has well north of 100 million active listeners, while over 27 million people subscribe to SiriusXM.  All of these numbers are growing steadily.

How many people purchased digital downloads?  About 40 million in a year (based on 2013 research from NPD), and declining.  Of course, once someone has downloaded a file, she can play it any number of times, but the number of download buyers is a reasonable measure of active users of the purchased-download model.  So it’s safe to say that the number of people who obtain music using a DRM-free model (legally) is much lower than the number of people who get it through a model in which music is encrypted.  To be more precise, the percentage of people who purchase music downloads is only about 18% of the total digital music market.  (That’s a lower bound, assuming no overlap, but it doesn’t include satellite or digital TV radio.)

More recent research by GlobalWebIndex reinforces the trend.  The firm’s Q1 2015 survey of teenagers around the world shows that while 60% used a streaming service during the last month, only 21% purchased a music download.

Compare this to the numbers in 2008, the end of the supposed “DRM era.”  At that time, iTunes represented about three-quarters of the music download market.  At least 10 million people in the U.S. purchased music on iTunes on a monthly basis, meaning that over 13 million purchased music downloads from anywhere.  Internet radio had perhaps 7 million active users, and on-demand services had less than 2 million subscribers.  In other words, download purchasers accounted for a lower bound of 60% of all Internet music users in 2008 — more than triple the percentage today. (These are all rough estimates; email me to find out how I calculated them.)

An even better way of measuring the percentage of digital music delivered with and without encryption is the revenue that record labels get from music through these various modalities.  For this, we turn to numbers compiled by the RIAA.  Here’s what they tell us:

DRM-free percent

Percentage of recorded music industry digital revenue from DRM-free vs. encrypted delivery modalities. Source: RIAA.

This chart shows the percentages of total digital recorded music revenues that come from DRM-free vs. encrypted modalities.  DRM-Free includes downloaded singles, downloaded albums, kiosk sales, and ringtones (even though some of the latter may be DRM-protected).  Encrypted categories include SoundExchange distributions (all forms of digital radio), Paid Subscriptions (paid on-demand services and premium Internet radio such as Pandora One and Rhapsody unRadio), and Ad-Supported On-Demand Streaming (YouTube, Vevo, Spotify Free).

The chart starts in 2009, when iTunes went fully DRM-free.  2008 was a transitional year as two of the major labels (first EMI, then UMG) began to go DRM-free on iTunes, and Amazon launched its completely DRM-free MP3 store.  Before then, perhaps 5% of digital music revenue was from DRM-free sources.

The trend began to reverse in 2011, when Spotify launched and the major labels completed deals with YouTube in which they allow most of their material to be shown in exchange for a share of ad revenue, resulting in “hockey stick” growth in listenership to on-demand services that continues to this day.

From this data it’s fair to predict that the lines will cross, that encrypted modalities will represent the majority of recorded digital music revenue by 2016.

As a footnote, the fastest-growing category of recorded music revenue is neither on-demand nor Internet radio; it’s vinyl.  Vinyl has come back from near death in 2010; its revenue growth is at 50% per year and accelerating; it now contributes more revenue to record labels than YouTube.  Now here’s a rather metaphysical question: should we count vinyl records as DRM-free or not?  You decide, but look here first.

European Commission Issues Communication on Digital Single Market May 9, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Europe, Law.
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The European Commission this past week published the first in a series of documents that mark its progress toward the objective of creating a Digital Single Market for all EU member states.  The 20-page Communication, published last Wednesday, lays out a series of steps that Brussels will take over the next two years, including “[l]egislative proposals for a reform of the copyright regime” starting this calendar year.

The Communication describes two particular areas of focus within the realm of copyright.  Both reflect input from lobbyists on both sides of the issue — the media and tech industries — and show that the EC wants to examine factors that trade off the concerns of both sides.

One area of focus is a pain point for anyone trying to launch digital media businesses in Europe: the lack of cross-border licensing opportunities and content portability.  A would-be digital media distributor has, in many cases, to negotiate a separate content license in each of the countries in which it wants to operate.  This process is especially painful for startups with limited resources.  As a result, smaller countries in particular get legitimate content services years later than larger ones, if they get them at all.

This leads to a related problem: the use of geoblocking technology to confine services to single countries where it isn’t strictly necessary.  Residents of smaller countries often resort to virtual private networks (VPNs) to obtain fake IP addresses in countries in which licensed services are offered.  The EC is looking to streamline cross-border licensing and make it easier to carry services accessed on portable devices across borders; at the same time, it hopes to eliminate unnecessary geoblocking.

Cross-border licensing within Europe has been an issue for many years, certainly since I consulted to the the EC’s Media and Information Society Directorate back in mid-late 2000s.  There are two obstacles to getting such schemes enacted throughout Europe.  First is that regulators in Brussels don’t hear about it very much: the companies that can afford to send lobbyists to Brussels (and join trade associations) tend to also be able to afford enough lawyers to go around all the member states for licensing — and to benefit from existing consumer demand, because their services are already known.  In other words, startups tend to be shut out of this discussion.

The second problem is that smaller countries’ culture ministries see pan-European licensing as counterproductive.  Their jobs are to promote their countries’ local content, yet cross-border licensing often makes it easier for bigger EU member states (not to mention the US) with better-known content to license it in but not to license their content out.  The focus on reducing the use of geoblocking ought to help ameliorate this concern, because it helps consumers’ money fall into the hands of local rights holders instead of VPN operators.

The other major area of focus is to address online infringement.  The EC is looking at two particular approaches to this.  One is a “follow the money” approach to enforcement that focuses on “commercial-scale infringements,” presumably as opposed to small-scale activities by individuals.  The other is “clarifying the rules on the activities of intermediaries in relation to copyright-protected content.”  Although the language in the Communication is high-level and non-specific, the focus is not likely to drift far beyond the existing safe harbors for online service providers that arise out of the EU e-Commerce Directive, which are roughly equivalent to the DMCA in the US.

Here again, the Communication reflects tradeoffs between the concerns of the content and tech industries.  The EC wants to look at “new measures to tackle illegal content on the Internet, with due regard to their impact on the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, such as rigorous procedures for removing illegal content while avoiding the take down of legal content[.]”  In other words, the EC probably wants to focus primarily on notice and takedown, to explore ways to resolve the tension between, on the one hand, the media industry’s concerns about overly onerous notice requirements and the lack of “takedown and staydown,” and on the other hand, online service providers’ concerns about abuse of the notice process.

The Commission expects to begin assessments of these areas this year.  This Communication is the start of a multi-year journey toward any actual changes in national laws, and the first glimpse of the parameters of those changes.  Communications are not legally binding; they lead to proposals for new laws and changes in existing laws.  The next step is one or more Directives, which are legally binding on EU member states, though member states are free to implement them in ways that make sense within their own bodies of laws — a process that itself can take several years.  Unifying several aspects of digital life in Europe through this long and complex process will be a challenge, to say the least.


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