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Not Very Bright: Things are out of hand at YouTube, just they way they planned it

December 29, 2019 Comments off

To paraphrase “Deep Throat” from All the President’s Men, don’t believe the myths the media has created about Google.  The truth is, these people are not very bright and things got out of hand.

Bloomberg’s and  have written one of the most revealing stories yet about just how out of control YouTube really is and just how incompetent YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is to handle it all (“Inside YouTube’s Year of Responsibility“).  (How Susan W came to have the YouTube job I’m sure has nothing to do with being the ex-sister-in-law of Google founder Sergei Brin.)

It boils down to this:  Google has been caught out.  YouTube was founded on the usual Google bedrock principle–steal everything.  Beg forgiveness if you get caught and emote about innovation, free speech, and any other hackneyed shibboleth that contributed to your D grade in freshman English comp from those teachers who didn’t understand your true brilliance.

Those “principles” may work for the Boys Who Wouldn’t Grow Up whilst inside their Mountain View bubble, but it was only a matter of time before the public began to catch on.  And the apocalyptic algorithm is that more the Google scaled, the more likely it was that the public would catch on like an appointment in Samarra.  When that happened, somebody may find out how bad it really is behind that curtain.  Because the truth is, these Googlers are not that bright, and things definitely got out of hand at scale.

So it was only a matter of time.  This is important because Google’s YouTube is the largest video search platform in the world and is the second largest search engine–right behind Google.com.  Unless you want that corrupting influence being piped into your children’s brains, you may want to think about how to stop it.

That ticking clock resonates in one of the most telling quotes in the Bloomberg post from YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki:

“If we were held liable for every single piece of content that we recommended, we would have to review it,” she said. “That would mean there would be a much smaller set of information that people would be finding. Much, much smaller.”

Ms. Wojcicki just described both the essence of the value gap and why YouTube is nothing like television no matter how many times Googlers aspire for it to be true.  YouTube is not “disrupting” television; rather it is corrupting television.  YouTube is television’s distorted mutant.

When Ms. Wojcicki says there would be a “much smaller set of information that people would be finding,” the clear implication is that there would be much less content for YouTube to sell ads against if YouTube took responsibility for everything on their platform.  You know, take responsibility like TV does.  (YouTube’s endless braying about “fair use” is misplaced–the issue is about taking responsibility before you get to the infringement that leads to the fair use defense.)

Ms. Wojcicki’s statement does not mean that just because the YouTube offering would be smaller it would be worse, which is the implication it seems she would like you to draw.  It doesn’t mean the status quo is “better” either, it just means that in an accountable future YouTube would take responsibility for YouTube being an honest broker.  It also doesn’t mean that anyone would be “censored” unless you think enforcing standards and practices on the digital equivalent of the public airwaves is “censorship” or you think artists protecting their rights impermissibly restricts speech.

Ms. Wojcicki’s statement also provides some insight into YouTube’s current crisis involving children using the service.  Because at Google, small is not beautiful–scale is beautiful.  And the consequences be damned.  Bloomberg observes:

[In addition to copyright infringement, currently] YouTube’s biggest challenge is kids’ privacy. In September, the FTC fined Google for illegally tracking children for its ads business, forcing significant changes to YouTube’s operations….The FTC is now rewriting its COPPA rules [the US law that protects children online] and has invited public comment. In a filing, Google told the agency it was worried about any laws forcing it to “identify and police” videos aimed at kids. The company was, in effect, arguing it couldn’t know for sure the age of its audience and shouldn’t be punished for that.

Let’s understand something–illegally tracking children for ads has nothing to do with standards and practices.  It has nothing to do with innovation, free speech or fair use.  Tracking kids for ads was not an algorithmic glitch, either.  This problem is entirely human-made and is entirely the result of choices made by humans who work for Ms. Wojcicki, if not Ms. Wojcicki herself.  The problem is made by the people who are supposed to be in charge, who stockholders task with making good choices for the company (in this case, Larry Page and Ms. Wojcicki’s ex-brother in law, see my NY Daily News op-ed on Google’s dual class voting stock).

Google wants all of the benefits and none of the burdens of operating a media business.  Their justification is that they do it online.  If kids or artists or advertisers get chewed up in the process, they’d have you believe that it’s not their fault.

In one sense, they have a point.  Regulators have allowed them to get away with a host of travesties for 15 years all based on a tortured reading of two safe harbors (Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the DMCA).  You can’t really blame Google for thinking that having established a business model based on corruption that has made a lot of people filthy rich, they should be allowed to continue to get away with the free ride.

YouTube profits from chaos and the sheer scale of so many harms to the society from a tortured expression of the important values of fair use to blatant child endangerment.  YouTube executives supposedly serve society, at least according to the nepotism of Silicon Valley royalty.

But if you expect them to meaningfully disrupt the highly profitable situation that they’ve let get out of hand at scale, the current executive team will disappoint if left to their own devices.

Happy Holidays and David’s Copyright Office Comments — The Trichordist

December 29, 2019 Comments off

We wanted to wish all our readers happy holidays and thank you again for supporting the Trichordist! As some of you may know, the Copyright Office comment period for MLC regulations just closed. We will be posting David’s comments and selected other commenters here for some holiday reading starting tomorrow. We want to thank the […]

via Happy Holidays and David’s Copyright Office Comments — The Trichordist

Google Says Don’t Break the Internet–Again–this time to Oracle at SCOTUS

December 26, 2019 Comments off

His Master had told him to call for help should a Wolf attack the flock, and the Villagers would drive it away. So now, though he had not seen anything that even looked like a Wolf, he ran toward the village shouting at the top of his voice, “Wolf! Wolf!”

As he expected, the Villagers who heard the cry dropped their work and ran in great excitement to the pasture. But when they got there they found the Boy doubled up with laughter at the trick he had played on them.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Aesop’s Fables No. 210

DBTI Lemley

Quick–how many times have you heard Google try to beat back challenges to their bad behavior with the old “Don’t Break the Internet” meme?  We’ve seen it many times, of course, but repetition doesn’t make it right and it definitely doesn’t make it true.

DBTI EFF

The EU Copyright Directive is a “Looming Catastrophe”

If there’s legislation, a lawsuit or some policy action that Google finds a commercial threat to their vast riches, especially including ill-gotten gains, it’s only a matter of time until they summon the academic and NGO chorus of Cassandras to bemoan, wail and rend garments over the single most important existential threat to humanity since the plagues of Egypt–breaking the Internet.

DBTI Orlowski

Breaking the Internet takes a few different forms including crushing innovation (or in the Googleplex, stealing everything that they can get away with).  And yet after a decade or more of this bunk, the Internet still trundles on, some how squeaking to get by despite Google’s breathless warnings.  Not to mention the multi, multi million dollar megaphone they use to broadcast their message far and wide from the halls of Congress to the children of Members of the European Parliament.

Google’s at it again, this time as part of the litigation involving its theft of copyrights from Oracle.  The problem for Google is that they can’t just run roughshod over Oracle the way they can practically everyone else, including governments.  We should be paying attention because for once Google may actually get punished in a way that hurts unlike the multi-billion fines in Europe that they absorb as a cost of doing business.

Here’s the story this time.  Google was getting their lunch eaten by Apple’s iPhone and needed to get Android up and running fast.  Google wanted to license a bunch of Java applications that were owned by Oracle.  You may say, what about Sun Microsystems which created Java?  Correct, but Oracle bought Sun so that’s how Oracle got involved.  And extra points if you remember who used to work at Sun Microsystems?  That’s right–UNCLE SUGAR!  Eric Schmidt his bad self.  Strange coincidence, yes?  The same Uncle Sugar who mysteriously resigned as Google’s executive chairman.  Uncle Sugar says, “Me, too!”  Boy we miss you Unk.

of-all-the-ceos-google-interviewed-eric-schmidt-was-the-only-one-that-had-been-to-burning-man-which-was-a-major-plus

The masked man says “Me, too!”

But I digress.  So Google supposedly creates some of its own Java-related software.  Let’s get this straight–Google could have developed their own platform with identical functions to Oracle’s Java as did Apple and Microsoft.  But–and this is really what I think the case is all about–Google made verbatim copies of several Java APIs that they couldn’t reverse engineer…sorry, I mean work around.  This all to avoid getting a license.  And you know how they argue that they got around those verbatim copies?

DBTI Shapiro

You guessed it–fair use.  Laughable, but no more laughable that Google’s whack a mole DMCA fake license practices they are fighting us on with their opposition to the CASE Act based on..you guessed it, fair use.  Breaking the Internet, etc.  It’s funny until you realize they are not kidding.

DBTI Internet Society

Google lost twice against Oracle in the case, but appealed its most recent failure to the Supreme Court of the United States, or “SCOTUS” as it’s known.  So Google’s big strong line in their papers is this:

Given the ubiquity of smartphones today, it is easy to forget the challenges that developers initially faced in building the operating systems that allow modern smartphones to perform their myriad functions. Among other things, developers had to account for smaller processors, limited memory and battery life, and the need to support mobile communications and interactive applications….[If Google loses the case, the ruling] will upend the longstanding expectation of software developers that they are free to use existing software interfaces to build new computer programs. Developers who have invested in learning free and open programming languages such as Java will be unable to use those skills to create programs for new platforms—a result that will undermine both competition and innovation.

Yep…law and order every time, marshal.  Google wants to wrap itself in the flag of those plucky “developers” who are just incapable of speaking for themselves so Google must do it for them as well as truth, justice and the American Way.  This is about as believable as Google positioning themselves to be on the side of artists because they paid some YouTubers to make propaganda against the European Copyright Directive.

censorship_square_of_doom1

Will innovation survive?  Will the Internet be broken?  Or did the boy cry wolf one too many times?  Will justice be done for once and done to Google?

Stay tuned.  There may be another Wreck-It Ralph sequel in the works .

 

Churchill and Roosevelt Christmas 1941

December 24, 2019 Comments off

Christmas of 1941 were some of the darkest days in modern history for lovers of freedom.  After the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan, Winston Churchill came to Washington for meetings with Franklin Roosevelt that cemented the bond between the two and consequently the special relationship.

This Christmas Day message from the White House shot from a backstage angle tells you a lot about the two men and how hope springs eternal.

Score One for the Serfs: Copyright Royalty Judges Mandate MLC/DLC “Settlement”…With a “But”

December 14, 2019 Comments off

d8c0f4d60ff0a319ae6f9c3224645c0a

Always read the footnotes.

Remember how we all were told that the services were going to pay for the administrative costs of operating the Mechanical Licensing Collective under the Music Modernization Act.  And that songwriters would benefit because there would be no administrative costs for the mechanical royalties collected and paid by the MLC.  (This implies, although importantly does not say, that publishers could not charge an administration fee for mechanicals they receive through the MLC but not surprisingly the MMA is silent on this not so nuanced nuance.  And why might that be?)

The drafters of Title I of the MMA (which is where the MLC-DLC rule reside) put it on the Copyright Royalty Judges to decide if the “administrative assessment” was fair and reasonable.  In case you missed it, the MLC and the DLC have reached a voluntary settlement that is several million dollars short of what the MLC asked for.  The CRJs have now issued an order making the settlement the law of the land.  With a twist.  (Order Granting Participants’Joint Motion To Adopt Proposed Regulations,  In Re Determination And Allocation Of Initial Administrative Assessment To Fund Mechanical Licensing Collective, Docket No. 19-CRB-0009-AA, (Dec. 12, 2019).)

Here’s some relevant language from the CRJs’ order:

Section 115(d)(7)(D)(v) of the Copyright Act authorizes the Judges to approve and adopt a negotiated agreement that has been agreed to by the Mechanical Licensing Collective and the Digital Licensee Coordinator in lieu of a determination of the administrative assessment. An administrative assessment adopted under section 115(d)(7)(D)(v) “shall apply to all digital music providers and significant nonblanket licensees engaged in covered activities during the period the administrative assessment is in effect.”

Sounds good, right?  But the CRJs go on:

However, the Judges, in their discretion, may reject a proposed settlement for good cause shown. Id. Section 355.4(c)(4) of the Judges’ rules establishes a process for non-settling participants to comment on a proposed settlement and for the settling participants to respond. Because there were no non-settling participants in the instant proceeding, the proposed settlement was unopposed.1

Notice two things:  First, the CRJs’ adopt the position of the MLC and the DLC that the only people who could object to the settlement were “participants”.  Who might that be?  Why the DLC and the MLC, of course.  There were other participants, most prominently the Songwriters Guild of America.  SGA was hounded out of the proceeding because the MLC apparently did not want to include SGA in the negotiation of a settlement.

I can understand the complexity of a three-way negotiation with those pesky songwriters about a matter that affects all the songwriters in the world who have ever written a song or that may ever write a song.  Those songwriters might really get in the way.  What I do not understand, however, is why the songwriters would not be afforded the opportunity to at least comment on the settlement that carries the awesome power of the Leviathan behind it.  I do understand how the rules came to be written the way they are, however.

And this leads to the other thing to observe about this ruling.  “Because there were no non-settling participants…the proposed settlement was unopposed.”  Rather tautological, right?  How can the settlement be opposed if those who might oppose it are not allowed to do so?

Let’s be clear what “opposition” means in this context.  You could just as easily say “improve” or “make fair”.  And lest you think that this is yet another example of sloppy legislative drafting in the mistake-prone Title I, this time I don’t think it’s a mistake.  I think it is exactly what the drafters intended.

But notice something else.  After the world “unopposed” the CRJs drop a footnote.  And it is this footnote that is probably the most important point to the unrepresented songwriters and startups who either couldn’t afford to participate or who were afraid of back alley retaliation if they did.

The Judges have been advised by their staff that some members of the public sent emails to the Copyright Royalty Board seeking to comment on the proposed settlement agreement. Neither the Copyright Act, nor the regulations adopted thereunder, provide for submission or consideration of comments on a proposed settlement by non-participants in an administrative assessment proceeding. Consequently, as a matter of law, the Judges could not, and did not, consider these ex parte communications in deciding whether to approve the proposed settlement. Additionally, the Judges’ non-consideration of these ex parte communications does not: (i) imply any opinion by the Judges as to the substantive merits of any statements contained in such communications; or (ii) reflect any inability of the Judges to question, [on their own motion without a filing from a participant] whether good cause exists to adopt a settlement and to then utilize all express or reasonably implied statutory authority granted to them to make a determination as to the existence…of good cause [to reject the settlement now or in the future].

This footnote is very, very important.  I would interpret it to mean that the CRJs may anticipate that they are directly or indirectly appealed or their decision is examined by the Congress that has ultimate oversight.  (Remember, the CRJs are not truly “judges” under the powers of the judiciary in Article III of the Constitution, but are more like administrative law judges under the powers of the Congress in Article I as the CRJs are part of the Library of Congress
The Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act of 2004 (CRDRA) established the Copyright Royalty Judges program in the Library of Congress.”)

The fact is that the entire process is deeply flawed and fraught with moral hazard if not outright conflicts of interest.  And even if the rule makers manage to exclude the rule takers from the rule making, those pesky songwriters and the public will still comment and criticize.  The insiders can’t threaten to sue everyone.  While the CRJs cannot officially acknowledge the criticisms of the Leviathan by the governed for well-founded fear of the back alley tactics, this footnote is about as close to a “message received” as the governed is going to get.

For now.

Score one for the serfs.

 

Are US Trade Negotiating Objectives Regarding Digital Responsibility and Copyright Protection Evolving? (What the 800 Pound Gorilla Really Wants is Important for the Trade Partners of the US) — Hugh Stephens Blog

December 13, 2019 Comments off

When you negotiate with the 800 pound gorilla, the gorilla usually gets what it wants. Therefore exactly what it wants can be very important. In case you were wondering, from a trade policy perspective the 800 pound gorilla is the United States, the world’s largest economy and a largely open market, although increasingly less so […]

via Are US Trade Negotiating Objectives Regarding Digital Responsibility and Copyright Protection Evolving? (What the 800 Pound Gorilla Really Wants is Important for the Trade Partners of the US) — Hugh Stephens Blog

The Copyright Office Should Set Conflict of Interest Policy for the MMA Musical Works Database

December 11, 2019 1 comment

[This post originally appeared in the MusicTechPolicy Monthly Newsletter before the announcement of the MLC vendors.]

Title I of the Music Modernization Act is clear about a few things, one of which is the creation of the “musical works database.” That database is for a specific purpose-it is to be used by the mechanical licensing collective in fulfilling its statutory mandate to “collect and distribute royalties from digital music providers for covered activities” under the new blanket license.   Among other things, the MLC is also mandated to “[a]dminister a process by which copyright owners can claim ownership of musical works (and shares of musical works)”.

But the MMA also establishes a cohort of “special” people who can get <em>copies of the entire database</em>, a “bulk copy.”  And there’s the conflict of interest rub.  Not to mention the data integrity rub because as you’ll see, the last thing the Congress wants is to have inconsistent “official” databases floating around the ether, each claiming to be authoritative and more authoritative than the next.  (Without, of course, undermining competition for accuracy or efficiency with the “official” database.)

Authority of the Copyright Office to Create Database Conflict of Interest Rules

As the legislative history teaches us, the Congress is taking a critical look at how the musical works database is in fact utilized.  Congress is also onto the old database arbitrage rope a dope: “Music metadata has more often been seen as a competitive advantage for the party that controls the database, rather than as a resource for building an industry on.” (H.R. Rep. No. 115-651 and S. Rep. No. 115-339, at 8.)

Unsurprisingly, Congress also empowered the Copyright Office with the authority to establish regulations regarding “usage restrictions of the musical works database.”  The Copyright Office could take up that issue in the current rulemaking.  As the Copyright Office noted in the notification of inquiry for MMA regulations, “[t]he Office seeks public input on any issues that should be considered relating to the oversight of the MLC, including but not limited to conflicts of interest….” 84 Fed. Reg. 49966 (No. 185 Sept. 24, 2019).

The musical works database is to be used for a specific purpose to further the permitted work of the MLC and to be a national asset that is the definitive resource for copyright ownership of songs.  Congress did not intend for the database to be a leveraged byproduct of Title I that would allow special people special privileges.  The integrity of both the data and the database is of great importance to Congress and to the Copyright Office.

It is also clear that nothing in the MMA grants to anyone any ownership right to the musical works database or any data acquired in its establishment, not MLC, DLC or anyone receiving a copy.  Neither does MMA grant any right to sell or resell that data.  The Copyright Office clearly has an oversight role for any sales, a role the Congress takes seriously based on the legislative history as well as a host of public statements by Members and Senators.

So it will be entirely within the brief of the Copyright Office to establish rules to protect the public against both threats to database integrity and efforts at database arbitrage.  (In the eminently readable MMA, you will find this at 17 USC Sec. 115(d)(ii)(D)(bb)(E)(v) “Accessibility of Database” for those reading along.)

Who Can Get a Copy of the Entire Musical Works Database?

Title I requires that when established, the musical works database “shall be made available to members of the public in a searchable, online format, free of charge.”  Users of the blanket license, among others, are to get a free copy of the database in a “bulk, machine-readable format”.  This language appears to draw a distinction between members of the public looking things up onesey and twosey compared to getting a copy of the entire musical works database.

Congress clearly was drawing a distinction between casual users in the public and those whose needs relate to the operation of the blanket licensing system-users who are already paying for the creation of the database through the administrative assessment and don’t want to pay twice.

Fine so far, although given the siloed nature of reporting and accounting systems at the music services it remains to be seen just how much any of them would actually use a copy of the musical works database unless that “machine-readable format” was highly customized.  The cost of that customization would seem a cost more appropriately borne by the entity requesting the copy rather than socialized across all licensees.

The Vendor Conflict

But-Title I goes further.  And here is where the need for the Copyright Office to develop conflict of interest rules becomes acute.

“Authorized vendors” of users of the blanket license are also entitled to a copy of the database free of charge, but anyone not a user or a vendor of a user can pay for a copy of the database.  That’s consistent as far as it goes because vendors of users are working for someone who pays for the MLC under the administrative assessment (and indirectly pays for the establishment and maintenance of the database) and others do not.  Again, given that those vendors run existing systems that already talk to the systems of the licensees, the jury is out on just how many will want or be able to use this “free” copy as a practical matter.  Even so, what should not happen is that the data standard sinks to the lowest common denominator to accommodate a vendor’s legacy systems (#nofoxpro #nodos).

However, Congress drew a sensible distinction between (1) those who pay the administrative assessment or their vendors and (2) those who do not.  Congress is clearly making that distinction to fairly match benefits with burdens.

What Congress did not intend was for vendors of users to acquire a free copy of the musical works database that they then could use for their own purposes unrelated to the work these vendors performed for users under the blanket license that justified their free copy in the first place.

Neither did Congress intend to require songwriters and music publishers to be forced–as a condition of receiving payment of statutory royalties–to allow their song data to be transferred or licensed by the MLC to a vendor for the vendor’s own purposes as a quid pro quo.  An example could be inadvertently requiring overly broad terms of service or terms of use inserted in a click-through agreement as a condition for registration for the MLC’s claiming platform.

It also seems clear that if vendors of the MLC are to obtain their own copy of the database they would be treated like anyone else.  They would be included in the group that must pay a fee  for a copy of the musical works database “not to exceed the marginal cost to the mechanical licensing collective of providing the database to such person or entity”.  Congress could easily have given those vendors a free copy as they did with the vendors of users but didn’t.  (It seems that the situation may actually be going the other way–vendors are selling their data to the MLC.)

Extracting Data from Indie Labels

It is important to note that Title I also empowers users of the blanket license to obtain from indie labels all their song information, or use “[g]ood-faith, commercially reasonable efforts” to do so.  Do such efforts include suing to get the data?  Must the label bear the cost of providing the data?  Does this include updates?  Does the label warrant the accuracy of their data when used for a purpose for which it was not collected?  If the licensee must use “commercial reasonable efforts” to do so, does that imply that the label need not provide the data if it is not commercially reasonable to do so?  Is charging a market price reflective of the cost of the data to the label as well as updates commercially reasonable?  Is this another “taking,” this time from labels?

Congress clearly states that anyone purchasing a bulk copy of the musical works database must pay the marginal cost to the MLC.  But who pays the labels for the cost of the label data that is to be included in the musical works database and then sold by the MLC?  Do the labels get compensated?  At what price?

Clearly the Congress did not intend to set up a free rider issue here, so this is another area that is ripe for regulation.

Reselling the Musical Works Database

There is nothing in the statute that allows those obtaining a copy of the musical works database to resell that database or services derived from that database, including when those services do not relate to the purpose for which the database copy was obtained.  Neither does MMA permit the subsequent distribution, alteration, sale or reproduction of a permitted copy, i.e., all such copies must originate with the MLC as required by the statute.  In fact, Congress addresses the issue by allowing the Copyright Office to restrict such arbitrage.

Neither does the MMA restrict how a copy of the musical works database once purchased is to be valued on the books of the buyer, or whether it can be transferred to a new owner in the sale of that business or pledged as collateral.  Again, important issues for the Copyright Office.

Issue Spotting the Conflicts

The transfer back and forth of all of this data seems to create exactly the kind of moral hazard that cries out for conflict of interest rules of the road to accomplish the proper goals of Title I. This would, of course, have to prohibit co-mingling of existing data of a vendor with data acquired during the normal course of that vendor’s services.  This is easy to accomplish through the use of a clean room and is a best practice and common procedure in the tech industry (e.g., former employees with knowledge of competitor IP or business practices).

Clear conflict of interest rules would assure Congress that their mandate is not creating unintended enrichment of any particular vendor capturing data while working for either the MLC or users of the blanket license.

One might say that song data acquired by the MLC is just information that was essentially public anyway (we’ve heard that kind of argument before) so why restrict it.  I would suggest that argument is a bit of a dodge because even if true, the vendors didn’t in fact get the data through public means as available to anyone else as it was to them.  They got it because the statute required the information be given up in order to enjoy rights of a copyright owner-not to create an arbitrage opportunity.  All the more reason why conflict of interest rules are essential.

And of course such regulations would give the public comfort that the entire supply chain had proper oversight and transparency as well as a corrective remedy should anything go astray.

Therefore, it is entirely within the mandate of the Copyright Office to establish conflict of interest and data integrity rules of the road for all concerned.

Conflict of interest rules would address and require:

-Prior approval by the Copyright Office of any terms of service or terms of use that rights owners are required to click through in order to obtain their statutory royalties or other benefits, including registering with the MLC, claiming black box monies, or purchasing a bulk copy

-Notification of the Copyright Office of each copy of the musical works database distributed.

-The Copyright Office could easily publish that notification in the Federal Register for transparency.  Any transfer documents should be recorded with the Copyright Office and made available to the public for search

-“Flow down” language from the Copyright Office that must be included preemptively in any click through-agreements to insulate users

-Disclosure of pre-existing data held by vendors rendering services

-Disclosure of data submitted by rights owners (including labels) to the MLC that is made available by the MLC to its vendors

-Establishing a fee schedule of sums to be paid to rights owners (including labels) providing data

-Prohibitions on pledging the musical works database as collateral

-A mechanism for copyright owners (including labels) to opt out of being included in any copies of the musical works database transferred to vendors or sold to others

-Establish restrictions on ownership of the musical works database (which might come in handy if it is necessary for the Copyright Office to designate a new MLC)

-Clarifying the Copyright Office FOIA policy as it relates to the database

-Prohibiting co-mingling pre-existing data with copies received

-Prohibiting modification of permitted copies of the database (for the obvious reason of maintaining the integrity of the MLC as the authoritative source)

-Requiring all copies of the database be watermarked with origination and destination

All these guideposts are compassed by the Copyright Office mandate and should not require any amendments to the MMA.  If these issues remain unaddressed, I fear a real mess consistent with that old legal principle snafu fugazi fubar.

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