Home > Copyright Infringement > The DMCA’s Unworkable Loophole

The DMCA’s Unworkable Loophole

After completing yesterday’s post, I got to thinking about how our digital lives would be different if the legal changes to the interpretation of the DMCA suggested (mandated?) by the Second Circuit came to pass.

Remember, here’s the DMCA’s safe harbor protections in a nutshell. I (YouTube, Grooveshark, et al) allow users to upload music and other protected content to my website (even if I know it infringes another’s copyrights). I pretend I don’t know about it. People flock to my site because you can listen to music for Free!!! So many people come to my site, that I start to make big bucks off add revenue. Even though I know it’s probably illegal, you, the copyright owner, can’t sue me. Instead, you have to write me a letter and tell me you don’t like what I’m doing. After I get this letter, I take down the music. You still can’t sue me because I took down the music. Tomorrow, someone else is going to put the same music right back up on my site again and I’ll allow it until you write me another letter. Then I’ll take it down and we can continue with this process.

I question whether companies like Grooveshark would be able to hide behind the DMCA’s protection any longer if the Second Circuit’s interpretive approach were applied. If courts no longer required the copyright holder to have to notify the website operator before DMCA protection could be removed, what would happen? If operators couldn’t hide behind a game of willful blindness, what would happen? Make no mistake, these websites know full well they have infringing material on their sites, but the DMCA nonetheless protects them until someone literally tells them in a “takedown notice” what they already know. It’s pretty ridiculous hoop to jump through and it allows the copyright infringer to essentially break the law until someone tells them to stop, even though they know they’re breaking the law. I hope we are moving towards something more workable.

Jeff Price over at Tunecore Blog wrote an excellent piece on the evil that is Grooveshark, and if you support artists but still support Grooveshark and similar platforms, I implore you to read the article. They steal music. They get rich doing it. Simple as that.

Read it here: Grooveshark: Trolling the Sea of Artists to Make a Buck

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