CISAC study adds fuel to the fire against safe harbor laws

CISAC has published a study investigating the economic impact of safe harbor provisions on the digital market. These legal provisions were originally intended to provide copyright liability protections for digital companies when their users committed infringements. However, the businesses like YouTube are no longer scrappy upstarts, and the study argues that safe harbors are having the opposite effect and are creating an unfair advantage for user uploaded content (UUC) companies.

The study cited multiple assessments that showed UUCs pay less to copyright holders per stream than other ad-supported services do. It examined several sets of financial data to determine how much money copyright holders stand to lose under the current legal frameworks. Just a comparison between YouTube and Spotify’s ad-supported tier shows that the payments from Spotify are twice what YouTube offers.

Many organizations and companies that have been critical of the safe harbor provisions for years. No matter what side of the issue you support, the unquestionable result of the research and inquiries into the topic are that the safe harbor provisions have not been able to keep pace with the rapid rate of change in the music technology space, and an update is overdue.

Anna Washenko