Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More on SIRA

Well, I'm not a lawyer, so maybe I've misread some of what is exactly in the proposed SIRA bill. Here's the take of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF):
This license specifically includes and treats as license-able "incidental reproductions...including cached, network, and RAM buffer reproductions." By smuggling this language into the Copyright Act, the copyright industries are stacking the deck for future fights against other digital technologies that depend on making incidental copies
My understanding was that it was doing so, but granting them a blanket, royalty-free license. That doesn't seem to be the case, rather the license on these incidental (intermediate) copies would be set by the Copyright Royalty Board, which may or may not decide to set a rate of zero. So what's the deal with the royalty-free license? Again, from the EFF:
What's more, the act creates a second, royalty-free compulsory license that applies to incidental copies for noninteractive streaming, subject to an important condition: the music service may not take "affirmative steps to authorize, enable, cause, or induce the making of reproductions of music works by or for end-users." Like the PERFORM Act, this would erode lawful home recording.
The EFF also thinks that some of the wording in the act is likely to bolster the RIAA's case against XM radio. So it seems like I need to adjust my thinking a little. Still, it seems like the danger of SIRA is not in its effects on current technologies, but that it would create the precendent to make future technologies license-able in bizarre ways.


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