Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Webcasting and Copyright Law

Eldar Haber, Tel Aviv University, Buchmann Faculty of Law, has published Copyrights in the Stream: The Battle on Webcasting, at 28 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 769 (2012). Here is the abstract.

The Internet threatens many right holders who consistently battle against technologies that enable people to use their copyrighted materials without their consent. While copyright holders have succeeded in some cases, their main battle against peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing has yet to be resolved. Another technology that threatens right holders’ business models, especially in the film industry, is the distribution of their content freely via webcasting. Although right holders have paid little attention to webcasting as they continue their campaign against P2P file-sharing, it poses similar threats and presents the likely possibility of a future copyright battle. This article examines copyright and webcasting. I analyze webcasting in comparison to past and current wars on copyright, trying to unveil major differences between the two. I argue that the current U.S. copyright régime treats webcasting inadequately and should be reexamined, especially vis-à-vis end-user’s actions since courts have yet to review cache copies created during Internet transmissions. I opine that future legal solutions proposed to handle webcasting, much like past attempts in similar matters, will be futile since technology will continue to evolve at a faster rate than legislation. Finally, I argue that the best solution to the current, as well as future, legal battles to protect copyrights should be the creation of a new business model similar to that of a levy system.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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