Has RIAA Blown Royalties Issue Out Of Proportion? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Has RIAA Blown Royalties Issue Out Of Proportion?

An attorney suggests during a Webnoize panel discussion that sampling techniques used in the broadcast world could provide a temporary fix for online music services, if only the recording industry would let it.

The primary hang-up in building legitimate Internet music services--making sure everyone who owns rights to a recording gets paid--shouldn't even be a hang-up, a prominent copyright attorney says. Ron Gertz, president and founder of Music Reports Inc., a provider of music copyright services, told digital entertainment execs gathered at this week's Webnoize 2001 conference in Los Angeles that sampling techniques used in the broadcast world would prove just as effective in monitoring the movement of music online, particularly in the file-sharing communities that have proven to be the Pandora's box of copyright concerns.

Gertz, while taking part in a panel discussion on copyright compliance, admitted that the sampling method--in which a percentage of broadcasts are monitored and the results used to estimate royalty payments--gets a little dicey when it comes to actually paying royalties. He also acknowledges that sampling is not as precise as the sophisticated (and costly) monitoring technologies that are available now and will eventually be a necessity. But he says simply comparing a sample of logs from a service's file servers to a database of rights owners could provide near-term relief. And the struggling economy provides an ideal opportunity to test the method's effectiveness. "It's all workable," Gertz said. "Especially now, when there's not much money in the pipeline."

Ken Hertz, a partner with the law firm of Goldring Hertz Lichtenstein & Haft, concurred. Hertz said that getting one of the Napster clones, such as the FastTrack network's KaZaA, Music City, or Grokster, to submit to such rudimentary monitoring certainly would be preferable to the Recording Industry Association of America's persistent attempts to shut down file-swapping networks and other royalty-unfriendly services. "No one's suggesting that the RIAA's strategy hasn't been successful," Hertz said. "The question is whether this is the best result for everyone."

But RIAA representative Robert Raben said that in the absence of legitimate music services that offer what consumers want while ensuring payment to all rightsholders, the RIAA would continue on its current course. There are legitimate sites that offer access to music from independent labels, and two major-label-backed services--MusicNet and pressplay--are scheduled to launch early next year. But very little major-label content has moved through online channels that generate royalty payments, and it's royalties related to major-label content that present the greatest financial concern. "I don't think anybody can say with clarity: This is what the business model should be," Raben said. "There are a lot of things to figure out."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
The State of IT & Cybersecurity Operations 2020
Download this report from InformationWeek, in partnership with Dark Reading, to learn more about how today's IT operations teams work with cybersecurity operations, what technologies they are using, and how they communicate and share responsibility--or create risk by failing to do so. Get it now!
Commentary
The Best Way to Get Started with Data Analytics
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  7/8/2020
Slideshows
10 Cyberattacks on the Rise During the Pandemic
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  6/24/2020
News
IT Trade Shows Go Virtual: Your 2020 List of Events
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/29/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Key to Cloud Success: The Right Management
This IT Trend highlights some of the steps IT teams can take to keep their cloud environments running in a safe, efficient manner.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll