Music copyright infringement whack-a-mole

Nowhere is copyright infringement more apparent than in the music industry

Have you ever watched a music video on YouTube without paying for it? If you have, you are not alone. YouTube, Facebook and other social media and mobile apps frequently have their users post copyrighted content for general distribution. This is legal. It is not legal to keep that copyrighted material up, however, after being served with a takedown notice from the copyright holder.

A summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act “notice and takedown” provision

We like free music. But when a band spends time, effort and talent to create an album, or song, that goes viral, that band or artist should be rewarded. Many bands and labels have begun to monitor online postings and issue takedown notices to the hosting platform and individual users.

If served with a “notice and takedown” provision, they must take down that content. If another user then posts the same content, the copyright holder must again serve a notice and takedown to the infringer, and so on.

It is the world’s least entertaining version of whack-a-mole.

Push to change the law

Many in the music industry are arguing for change the law to force hosting services to become responsible for taking down copyrighted material once served with a takedown notice. However, this could be extremely burdensome for some hosting platforms, particularly YouTube, which would have to devote significant resources to monitoring postings.

It is unclear if the law will change. Until then, those who hold copyrights have the onus of being vigilant against infringers, no matter how many times they occur.

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