LD: You are a legend in the music and entertainment business. You started out as a musician and then went into law.
I played with Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin, Les Brown, the Charlie Barnett Orchestra, Prez Prado, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, just to name a few. I play the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. I was busy as a musician, but I had a law degree, and my musician friends needed the legal help.
LD: What do you see as the direction of the music industry because of all the downloading, tech changes, and piracy?
The state of the recording industry is in bad, bad, shape. While millions of records are still being sold, billions are being illegally downloaded. The music and record business has been in some decline now for the last five to ten years, while at the same time, music is being consumed more than ever in all kinds of ways - through the Internet, CDs, iPods, radio, TV, mobile phone devices and live performances.
JC: Younger generations coming up have gotten used to free music. They don’t think of it as illegal. It’s natural to them. Or they know it’s illegal, but still say, “We don’t care.”
Tech companies and ISPs are making money off of all these people who are illegally downloading, and therefore don’t necessarily have the desire to stop it. ISPs could stop it or at least substantially reduce it.
LD: How could ISPs stop it?
JC:Very simple – all content flows through the pipes controlled by the ISPs and the mobile companies. They generally know what’s flowing through the pipes. A provision in the Copyright Act called the Safe Harbor says they are not responsible for carrying illegal content unless they know that it’s on there.
When they receive notice that it’s on there and they take it down, they then have no legal responsibility for it. Technology exists that can determine whether something has been authorized or not. They don’t seem to be encouraged to do anything because all those people are paying monthly fees for that access, and the popularity of the site allows them to sell ads.
You have to lean on the ISPs. They will abide by the law. They may not like it, but if an appropriate tightening of the law is passed and it’s effective, they will cooperate.
Section 512 – concerns repeat offenders - but I haven’t seen any substantive enforcement of 512. It needs huge strengthening to force them to police what’s going through their pipes. If someone is cut off in their service as a repeat offender, then eventually the message will hit home.
Then they will think, “I’m going to lose my connection to my mobile or computer if I keep illegally doing this, so I better not do it.”
Maybe not a total answer, but our music and entertainment industry is vital to this country and the world and remains a major asset to America’s creativity, and it needs to be protected.
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