Bill RosenblattIt’s a truism in intellectual property that copyright legislation is in a never-ending race with technology, and always playing catch-up. When copyright and technology first found themselves in this circular arrangement, the disruptive technology of the moment was the player piano.

On Tuesday, January 19, at New York University, attorneys, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, and educators will take turns untwisting the tangled relationship of Copyright and Technology at a one-day conference. Among the unusual perspectives is a look at how piracy-related data could drive business innovation, as well as predictions for the future of collective licensing schemes, first conceived in the 1940s.

In addition, the U.S. Copyright Office last month published Notices of Request and Public Comment for so-called “Section 512,” regarding limitations of copyright liability for online service providers under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Jacqueline Charlesworth, General Counsel of the Copyright Office, will discuss that topic — and more — when she delivers the conference keynote speech.

“Section 512 is essentially an attempt to strike a balance between the need of copyright owners to protect their copyrights online and the needs for service providers to be able to run their services with a reasonable minimum of effort to enforce copyright,” organizer Bill Rosenblatt explains for CCC’s Chris Kenneally. Section 512, he continues, “contains what are known as ‘safe harbors,’ which are ways that service providers can avoid being held liable for copyright infringements that are alleged to be committed on their services.

“One of the aspects that the Copyright Office wants to study – one of the many, many aspects that the Copyright Office wants to get input on – is how these laws affect individuals and small entities. Google may have armies of engineers or people to administer take-down notices specified under Section 512. But you may be a small service provider who would find it a problem to be deluged with these notices,” Rosenblatt says. “On the other hand, you may be an individual songwriter or novelist or photographer and you can’t hire a bunch of people to be generating all these notices.”

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