A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official warned today that if software distributors continue to sell products with dangerous rootkit software, as Sony BMG Music Entertainment recently did, legislation or regulation could follow.
“We need to think about how that situation could have been avoided in the first place,” said Jonathan Frenkel, director of law enforcement policy for the DHS’s Border and Transportation Security Directorate, speaking at the RSA Conference 2006 in San Jose. “Legislation or regulation may not be appropriate in all cases, but it may be warranted in some circumstances.”
But the message from the industry is one of impending gloom. They are warning that they face one of the biggest challenges to their survival since popular music exploded in the 1960s.
In 2013, copyright in the sound recording of the Beatles’ first album expires, as it will for recordings from Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard and other performers of the same period.
Of course, copyright of all works expires at some point. This is for a clear reason. Copyright is designed to provide reward and incentive for creators and innovators. It also recognises that innovators and creators build on works from the past, and that they need to access these works if art, culture and science are to flourish.
In the midst of an explosion in digital music sales, and a flourishing new music scene, industry executives are lobbying the UK government to extend protection for sound recordings from 50 years to 95.
This, they say, would protect existing revenue streams that bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones provide.
The argument for the extension of copyright is often presented as win-win situation for all. If we do not extend copyright, then the Beatles’ sound recordings could be packaged and released by anybody, and the recording artists would not receive any money from future sales of the songs they recorded and made popular.
So it hurts the recording artists, the record company who owned the original copyright, and the consumers who will be faced with a deluge of low quality Beatles compilations.
Two busy Web sites that focus on Apple Computer Inc.’s Mac OS X operating system went silent Friday just days after they featured links to information on how to hack the software and run it on non-Apple PCs.
The OSx86 Project Web site stated Apple had served it with a notice on Thursday citing violations of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the site was reviewing all of its discussion forum postings as a result. The site has always aimed to adhere to copyright laws and is working with Apple to ensure no violations exist, according to a statement by the site administrator.
The other Web site, Win2OSX.net, was completely shut down. Administrators there could not be immediately reached for comment.
‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’ Lawsuit Is Settled
A protracted legal dispute over the copyright to the internationally popular tune “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” has been settled with a payment to the family of Solomon Linda, the Zulu migrant worker who composed it under the title “Mbube.” Lawyers acting for his heirs said yesterday in Johannesburg that Abilene Music, which administered its copyright in the United States, had agreed to settle for an undisclosed sum, Reuters reported. The heirs live in poverty in the township of Soweto. Since the song was written in 1939, it has earned an estimated $15 million, been recorded by at least 150 artists around the world and been featured in the Disney film “The Lion King” as well as onstage. Herman Blignaut, a lawyer for the family, said the amount of the settlement was confidential, “but it’s been described as an amount which is suitable for the family’s needs and includes both back payment for royalties as well as future payments.”
For earlier postings, see this
Much later: this NYTimes wrapup — In the Jungle, the Unjust Jungle, a Small Victory