Thursday, January 21, 2016

“Notice-and-Stay-Down” Is Really “Filter-Everything”

The Proposed Law Is Unfair to Both Users and Media Platforms

There’s a debate happening right now over copyright bots, programs that social media websites use to scan users’ uploads for potential copyright infringement. A few powerful lobbyists want copyright law to require platforms that host third-party content to employ copyright bots, and require them to be stricter about what they take down. Big content companies call this nebulous proposal “notice-and-stay-down,” but it would really keep all users down, not just alleged infringers. In the process, it could give major content platforms like YouTube and Facebook an unfair advantage over competitors and startups (as if they needed any more advantages). “Notice-and-stay-down” is really “filter-everything.”

At the heart of the debate sit the “safe harbor” provisions of U.S. copyright law (17 U.S.C. § 512), which were enacted in 2000 as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Those provisions protect Internet services from monetary liability based on the allegedly infringing activities of their users or other third parties.

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