September 12, 2003

Liebowitz: DRM, Not Compulsory Licensing, Answers the Real Challenge of File Sharing

Economist Stan Liebowitz sees P2P file sharing as a significant problem for music publishers, and advocates use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools to allow both P2P file sharing and protection of copyrights. He takes issue with proposals for compulsory licensing, a method used in the past in similar situations. He maintains an online page of notes and links to his published and to-be-published papers and studies. (Read More ...)

Stan Liebowitz is an economist at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has studied the challenge of MP3 file sharing for several years and assisted with critiquing economists' amicus briefs filed in the Eldred case. His studies had led him to believe (and write) that file sharing technology would have a significant negative impact on the recording industry, and that DRM technologies would provide protection without sacrificing fair use. "Policing Pirates in the Networked Age" (Cato Institute 2002).

Further study and experience led him away from, then back again to that conclusion, expressed in the August 2003 note "The Day the Music Died". It predated RIAA's recent lawsuits against users, but anticipates them and the resulting controversy and repeats his support of experimentation with DRM as a solution. A few days ago, he released "Alternative Copyright Systems: The Problems with a Compulsory License" in which he concludes that cumpulsory licensing is not the solution in this instance, as it was with rights in broadcast music.

He also maintains an informal but more current page of links and notes on the subject of "Copyright Issues, Copying and MP3 Downloading". It contains useful links to his yet-to-be published studies and papers as well as the recent court decision involving RIAA v. Kazaa et al and the continuing controversy over the grant of subpoena powers and privacy.

Liebowitz' logic and data are not without critics, including that of Miriam Rainsford, a pro-file-sharing musician.

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Posted by dougsimpson at September 12, 2003 08:14 PM | TrackBack