Session Details

Plenary Presentations

9:45 – 10:45 am

Keynote Address

  • Paul Goldstein, Lillick Professor of Law, Stanford University, author of Copyright’s Highway: From Gutenberg to the Celestial Jukebox

In 2002, MPAA president Jack Valenti nailed his complaint to Congress about peer-to-peer piracy of Hollywood films with the observation that “no business model can compete with free.” Copyright has in fact always competed with free–in the form of works that have fallen into the public domain–but never before has it had to do so on a scale magnified by digital technologies and the internet, competing not only with pirated streams and downloads, but expanded conceptions of fair use, and entirely voluntary contributions, such as Wikipedia, Creative Commons and open source operating systems. From a legislative standpoint, the question of free copies has been complicated by the US Congress’s (and the EU’s) virtual silence on the issue over the past 20 years. Can copyright compete with free? These remarks, based on the soon to be published second edition of Paul Goldstein’s Copyright’s Highway: From the Printing Press to the Cloud, offer an answer.

11:00 – noon

Plenary Presentation: The Open Music Initiative

As data flows even more fluidly, and is used across new methods of media creation and consumption, how will music rights-holder data be tracked, who will own it, and how might an open protocol complement standards and identifiers, and enable creators to better track and monetize the content they create? How is the Music Modernization Act accelerating this new wave of innovation in rights management, and how might open protocols being developed by the Open Music Initiative serve as a convener for creative rights holders with competing interests and differing influence levels toward shared benefits?

Open Music is an industry-wide initiative that is developing open protocols for interoperability of music rights information across the supply chain of digital music. Leaders from the Open Music Initiative will share current updates, and explore what learnings related to attribution and rights holder tracking might be applied from orthogonal industries.

Afternoon Technology Track

1:15 – 2:15 pm

Is 13 an Unlucky Number? Effects of the EU Copyright Directive

The European Union is likely to enact a new Directive that could require certain types of online services to take proactive steps to license copyrighted material or keep it off their services. It will take years to figure out what types of technologies or enforcement schemes may be acceptable or required under the laws as implemented in EU Member States. Regardless, just as the EU GDPR had implications for website terms of use worldwide, the new EU Directive could have a big ripple effect on online services’ copyright responsibilities in the U.S. and beyond. We’ll discuss the Directive and get a head start on predicting its implications.

2:30 – 3:30 pm

Blockchains, E-Books, and Ownership

If you purchase a music file or e-book online, you usually get rights from the retailer’s end user license agreement that are more restricted than for physical books or records. At the same time, startups are building new services that use blockchain technology to emulate content ownership for e-books more closely than traditional downloads. This raises questions: what are the advantages of the ownership features of these blockchain solutions? How well do they emulate physical ownership? And what types of DRM technologies — if any — are necessary to do this? In this session, we’ll hear from both the startups and the skeptics.

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Rational Approaches to Online Image Licensing

Stock image agencies and Creative Commons licenses provide ways for people to get licenses to many images for use in published materials. But it’s still very easy to search the Internet for images and use them without even knowing their copyright status or license terms. In this session, we’ll discuss the possible carrots (convenient licensing frameworks) and sticks (enforcement) that can be used to solve this problem and the roadblocks that stand in the way.

Afternoon Law and Policy Track

1:15 – 2:15 pm

Copyright Office Updates: DMCA and MMA

The U.S. Copyright Office has been involved in several important initiatives related to copyright and technology recently. In October it completed the latest triennial rulemaking on exemptions to the section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that prohibits circumvention of technological protection measures (such as DRM systems), using the more streamlined and participant-friendly rulemaking process that it adopted last year. Regan Smith, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, will report on the new process and the results of the latest rulemaking.

The Copyright Office has also begun a public process to select an entity to serve as the mechanical licensing collective for licensing mechanical music rights, as well as the digital licensing coordinator, pursuant to the recently-enacted Music Modernization Act – a process that will fundamentally change the nature of mechanical licensing for streaming music services. Steve Ruwe, Assistant General Counsel, will provide an update on the selection process and how it will unfold over the next few months.

  • Regan SmithGeneral Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, U.S. Copyright Office
  • Steve Ruwe, Assistant General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office

2:30 – 3:30 pm

The Future of Music Mechanical Licensing

The passage of the Music Modernization Act sets the stage for a major shift in practices around mechanical licensing of musical compositions for streaming services. Our panel will predict possible futures for the single mechanical licensing agency that the Act calls into being. We will discuss whether it will live up to the expectations of the bill’s supporters and what effect it will have on precision and accountability for royalty payments in the largest and fastest-growing segment of recorded music industry revenue today.

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Copyright Liability for Online Service Providers

In light of the court decision in BMG v Cox, pending record label litigation against multiple ISPs,  and the demise of the Copyright Alert System, ISPs and other service providers may have to rethink their relationships with copyright, the kinds of processes they will need to implement to be eligible for the DMCA safe harbor, and what further clarity in the law might be necessary. We’ll discuss issues such as repeat infringer termination policies, red flag knowledge/willful blindness, and making available.