The debate over who should enforce copyright laws on the internet

Glenn W. Peterson

When people in Sacramento create a piece of art, music or written work, one of the most effective measures they can take to protect it is to obtain a copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office states that once the item is copyrighted, it is illegal for anyone to use that material without the express permission of the owner of the copyright. If people or companies violate that law, the owner can pursue them for appropriate compensation.

However, when it comes to copyright protection law and the internet, things become a little more confusing. This fall, reforms to the current set of copyright laws are expected to be announced and many performing artists would like to see these reforms take a harsher stance towards internet companies such as Google and YouTube, where links to pirated copies can easily be found.

One musician says it was the relaxed law that enabled him to become an internet sensation, because he could freely post his music. Google states that they do provide a service on YouTube where artists can receive some payment for the use of their pirated works by registering it. However, many mainstream artists claim that this isn’t enough. They want the law to require internet companies to police their sites for illegally uploaded content. Artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney claim that the current laws require them to conduct their own searches for pirated material, which has grown exponentially with the expanded use of the internet.

Copyright law is intended to prevent people from making money off of something that is not their own creation. When people find that their copyright has been infringed, they may find it helpful to discuss their options with an experienced attorney.

Source: NPR, “Why Taylor Swift Is Asking Congress To Update Copyright Laws,” Laura Sydell, Aug. 8, 2016