RIAA Admits It Wants DMCA Overhaul; Blames Judges For 'Wrong' Interpretation

from the uh-sure dept

We've discussed how E-PARASITE/SOPA is really an attempt by the entertainment industry to rewrite the DMCA, even though they pretend otherwise. However, it appears that the RIAA is now comfortable with admitting that's the real goal of its legislative agenda these days. The RIAA's litigation boss, Jennifer Pariser, famous for making highly questionable statements under oath in trials against people accused of sharing music they love, is now claiming that the DMCA wording is great, but that the interpretation by the courts has just been dreadful -- so Congress should clarify that and slap the judges down. As reported by Greg Sandoval at CNET:
"I think Congress got it right, but I think the courts are getting it wrong," Pariser said during a panel discussion at the NY Entertainment & Technology Law Conference. "I think the courts are interpreting Congress' statute in a manner that is entirely too restrictive of content owners' rights and too open to [Internet] service providers.

"We might need to go to Congress at some point for a fix," Pariser added. "Not because the statute was badly drafted but because the interpretation has been so hamstrung by court decisions."
This is pretty typical of the RIAA. The one part of the DMCA that they fought tooth and nail when it was put together was the service provider safe harbors. However, it was a key part of the negotiations with the tech industry, as part of the tradeoff to get the rest of the (dreadful) DMCA. The RIAA has always hated the safe harbors. It's just so much easier to make third party service providers liable. It's easier to sue service providers rather than fans.

So now they're rewriting history, pretending that the safe harbors weren't intended to do what they do. This is a joke. If you talk to folks on the tech side who negotiated the safe harbors, this was exactly how the safe harbors were meant to work. If anything, some of those involved are upset that the safe harbors aren't even stronger (as they were in the CDA for non-intellectual property issues). What Pariser and the RIAA really mean when they mock judges for their rulings on the safe harbors is that they never liked the safe harbors in the first place, so the best way to get what they always wanted (i.e., no real safe harbors) is to pretend that it's all a big "misinterpretation" that needs clarification from Congress.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Nov 2011 @ 7:48am

    Judicial branch trying to do its job

    The checks and balances put in place by the founding fathers of the U.S. specifically designed the Judicial branch to be able to balance out a Legislative and Executive branch that had gone off the deep end. This is where laws live or die by case rulings.

    If the Judicial branch has "destroyed" the DMCA, then that means they have decided that the DMCA was *not* in the country's best interest per the courts.

    Congress needs to be put in its place - if it's drafting shitty laws, then those laws need to fail - period.

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