2nd Circ: Pre-72s Are Covered By DMCA Safe Harbor

2nd Circ: Pre-72s Are Covered By DMCA Safe Harbor

DMCA safe harbors apply to pre-1972 recordings, according to a Second Circuit ruling…

Today (June 16th), The Second Circuit ruled that the DMCA’s safe harbors protect online hosts like YouTube, from liability of infringing content posted by users. This protection is also applied to pre-1972 recordings that are not covered by federal copyright law.

Before 1972, federal law didn’t protect recording copyrights in the US, at all.  Instead, a patchwork of state laws attempted to offer rights, or didn’t address the matter at all, which led to a complete mess for rights owners to navigate. This new ruling by the Second Circuit aims to clarify things.

With this Second Circuit decision it makes its simpler for online music hosts, like YouTube and Vimeo, who may have previously been unsure as to whether or not pre-1972 uploaded recordings have infringed the rights of copyright owners.

The Second Circuit also stated that a ruling that opposes their decision would “defeat the very purpose” of the law. For content owners who have pre-1972 recordings on these services, the ruling obviously comes as a disappointment, as it allows these music services to exploit their works without their consent.


(Image by Beth Cortez-Neavel, Creative Commons, Public Domain)

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    But of course — everything except murder is covered by DMCA Safe Harbor.

  2. Lest it be overlooked...

    The Hollywood Reporter reported yesterday in the article “Appeals Court Gives Internet Service Providers Big Relief In Copyright Disputes,” “…that the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-and-eagerly-awaited opinion in a case brought by major labels against the video-sharing site Vimeo” on Thursday, June 16, 2016.

    In a nutshell, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals opined, among other things, that the safe harbour provisions of the DMCA applied to sound recordings created before 1972. Thus, it appears that the major labels (RIAA) will rely on state protected sound recording rights to show infringements of copyright.

    That possibility is further supported as reported by Billboard in the June 16, 1996 article, “RIAA Writes to Judge About Controversial Ruling Over Remastered Sound Recordings” which contains links to the letters of both the RIAA, as well as ABS.

    At this juncture, in answer to the above, I strongly suggest that those parties carefully consider the implications enshrined in Article I § 8 of the Constitution which grants Congress the power “To promote the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors … the exclusive Right to their respective Writings ….

    Proceed at your own peril.


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