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)