The music industry’s battle against stream-ripping, changes to consent decrees and a potential Supreme Court case involving DMCA exemptions are all on the docket. So The Hollywood Reporter asked Steve Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America, what’s at stake in the year ahead and which cases he’ll be watching most closely.
What do you feel were the biggest developments in music law in 2016?
The past year included a number of decisions where courts wrestled with whether certain online services using music must obtain a license. The online services invoked the DMCA as a liability shield for the widespread use of music on their platform, and the decisions demonstrate that the DMCA continues to litter the marketplace with outcomes that place competitors in different positions. In October, the Second Circuit emphasized in EMI v. MP3Tunes that a service cannot adopt policies to “willfully blind” itself of infringement by users of the service and recognized that the Defendants could have knowledge based on “red flags” given the facts in the record.