×

Music biz won’t sink teeth into swappers

Grokster's off the hook for now

Don’t just do something, sit there.

That was the message music industry reps delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, as lawmakers looked for ways to be useful in the wake of the Supreme Court’s unanimous smackdown of file-swapping networks Grokster and Streamcast.

At a hearing packed with observers but only a handful of senators, RIAA prexy Cary Sherman told the committee, “At this time, we’re not seeking any legislation related to Grokster.”

Sherman’s hands-off recommendation was seconded by others at the witness table, including frequent industry critics such as Consumer Electronics Assn. head Gary Shapiro.

In a decision handed down in July, the Supreme Court said file-swapping networks can be held liable if they intentionally induce their users to commit copyright infringement. Ruling sent the case back to the trial court, where it’s still pending.

One area that could see some action in the wake of the Grokster ruling is the effort to reform the licensing of music rights for online distribution.

Currently, an above-board download service like iTunes must license so-called mechanical rights from music publishers, as well as public performance and reproduction rights for each recording on its service.

Efforts to negotiate a blanket system that would simplify the clearance process among online services, the RIAA, the Harry Fox Agency and ASCAP/BMI have dragged on for two years.

On Wednesday, U.S. registrar of copyrights Mary Beth Peters told the senators that the Grokster decision offered an opportunity for Congress to break the impasse through legislation.

More Scene

  • Elsie Fisher and Bo Burnham2019 Writers

    Writers Guild Announces 2020 Awards Show Date

    The 72nd Annual Writers Guild Awards will take place in coinciding ceremonies in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton and the Edison Ballroom in New York on Feb. 1, the Writers Guild of America announced. The WGA will begin voting in November and will reveal this year’s TV nominees Dec. 5 and film Jan. 6. [...]

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Alamo Drafthouse Opens New Downtown Los

    Alamo Drafthouse Storms into L.A. with New Location

    “Cinema is alive and well tonight!” Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League declared at the theatrical venue’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday night, where a gathering of 160 employees cheered and sliced into a strip of 35mm film in keeping with the company’s tradition. Despite dire predictions heralding the end of the theater-going experience, League was upbeat [...]

  • America Ferrera'Superstore' TV show photocall, Comic

    America Ferrera Blasts 'Send Her Back' Chant: 'Embarrassing and Shameful'

    America Ferrera has been a longtime political activist who has focused a large part of her work on immigrant rights. She’s now speaking out about the chant of “send her back” targeting Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar that was shouted at a President Donald Trump rally earlier this week. “It’s devastating and shocking and embarrassing and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content