[GSDI Legal Econ] Copyright on ring tones?
ral at alum.mit.edu
Mon Jul 6 16:00:02 EDT 2009
From Electronic Frontier Foundation news:
ASCAP MAKES OUTLANDISH COPYRIGHT CLAIMS ON CELL PHONE RING TONES.
EFF urged a federal court Wednesday to reject bogus copyright claims
in a ringtone royalty battle that could raise costs for consumers,
jeopardize consumer rights, and curtail new technological innovation.
As part of a ploy to squeeze more money out of mobile phone companies,
the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) has
told a federal court that each time a phone rings in a public place,
the phone user has violated copyright law. Therefore, ASCAP argues,
phone carriers must pay additional royalties or face legal liability
for contributing to what they claim is cell phone users' copyright
infringement. In an amicus brief filed Wednesday, EFF points out that
copyright law does not reach public performances "without any purpose
of direct or indirect commercial advantage" -- clearly the case with
cell phone ringtones. If phone users are not infringing copyright law,
then mobile phone service providers are not contributing to any
For the full press release:
For the blog post:
For more on this case:
The next thing will be 'pay for view' (self-certified, of course!) each
time you look at a paper map! Just one more indication as to why the IPR
regime(s) now in place really do need overhauling to match the needs of
a more modern, 'always on', society?
p.s. Beware the ring tone police while on your summer holiday!
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