Academic journal article Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal

Digital Music: What Does the Future Hold?

Academic journal article Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal

Digital Music: What Does the Future Hold?

Article excerpt

The second symposium panel, "Digital Music: What Does the Future Hold?" addressed the continued challenges to copyright protection of music in digital environment. Jeffrey G. Knowles of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP offered three approaches to protect digital music: consumer education, legal alternatives that compensate, and deterrence. In addition, Mr. Knowles discussed the impact of the In Re Verizon decision limiting subpoena use to identify alleged infringers--through cumbersome John Doe suits. Finally, Mr. Knowles distinguished peer-to-peer file sharing services from products with a substantial non-infringing use, on the basis of the ongoing relationship file sharing service providers maintain with their users. Mr. Knowles remarked in closing, "existing law will suffice if we just let the courts work it out."

Gerard J. Lewis, Jr., Senior Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer of Comcast Cable Communications, humorously offered the Internet service provider's ("ISP") perspective by using the tune of "Stuck in the Middle with You." Mr. Lewis noted three main difficulties in responding to subscriber identification subpoenas issued under the DMCA: (1) user identification; (2) significant costs; and (3) uncertainties. Moreover, Mr. Lewis found that such an assertion of the DMCA did not serve anyone's interests because it placed the copyright owners and the ISPs at odds with their customers. Mr. Lewis posed the following question to drive re-envisioning of copyright law: "How does one grow a business out of all this? …

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