Microsoft Does the Right Thing In Songwriter Class Actions But Where is the Government?

MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

You’ll probably have read a lot about how the Lowery, Ferrick and Yesh Music cases against digital services show how “broken” the music licensing practice is in the U.S.   As usual, instead of focusing on protecting songwriters and helping them actually get paid, the government is focusing on more bureaucracy and making life easy for tech companies.  Because that’s what bureaucracies do–after all, why does the Navy’s Army need an Air Force?

The U.S. Copyright Act produces no incentive for anyone to actually pay royalties–mostly because there is virtually no chance that anything bad will happen to a scoff law who just ignores their obligations under the Copyright Act.  Why?  Because the government puts the enforcement burden on songwriter who can ill afford to bring a copyright infringement case on their own.  And, of course, anyone who does is mocked in the tech press as a “copyright troll” as…

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