WASHINGTON, July 10 /PRNewswire/ --
Dr. James H. Billington
Office of the Librarian
The Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-1000
Re: Revocation of Certain Statutory Internet Broadcasting Licenses
Dear Dr. Billington:
We represent Media Rights Technologies, Inc. ("MRT") and make this
petition on its behalf. MRT creates and licenses content management and
enablement solutions, empowering effective and protected distribution of
It has come to our attention that several popular webcasters are
willfully violating their statutory internet broadcasting licenses by
distributing digital content as an interactive download service and by
ignoring their statutory obligations under the law.
The webcasters in question include AOL, Clear Channel, iTunes, Live
365, MSN Music, Napster, Pandora, RealNetworks, Rhapsody and Yahoo
All of the Subject Webcasters are operating under licenses granted
pursuant to the statutory licensing provisions of the Digital Performance
Rights in Sound Recording Act ("the Act"), found in 17 U.S.C. paragraph
114(d)(2). By statutory definition, the licenses under which the Subject
Webcasters are operating exclude "interactive service." See 17 U.S.C.
paragraph 114(d)(2)(A). The Act defines "interactive service" as one that
enables a member of the public to receive a transmission of a program
specially created for the recipient, or on request, a transmission of a
particular sound recording-whether part of a program or not-which is
selected by the recipient. See paragraph 114 (j)(7). A duly licensed
interactive service pays a much higher royalty rate than does a statutory
licensee, typically as much as 50% of the gross revenue earned by the
interactive service as compared to approximately $800 per one million sound
recordings played by a statutory licensee today.
All of the Subject Webcasters distribute digital content over systems
that avoid existing and effective technical measures designed to protect
copyrighted content from unauthorized downloading, copying and
re-distribution or use by recipients. Indeed, all of the Subject Webcasters
incorporate or accommodate stream ripping capability within their
systems. Literally thousands of different stream ripping devices are
sanctioned by the Subject Webcasters. Further, all of the ephemeral
recordings made by the Subject Webcasters are similarly unprotected from
copying, in direct violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of paragraph
112 (a)(1) and (e). By transmitting copyrighted matter through such
systems, the Subject Webcasters enable the recipients of their unprotected
transmitted sound recordings to select particular sound recordings that can
be downloaded and converted into perfect digital phonorecords. These
digital phonorecords are then capable of being used, re-distributed or
re-transmitted-all without authority from the copyright owners or payment
The enormity of this digital piracy has been well documented. It was
estimated that U.S. consumers with internet access did not pay for 51% of
the music they acquired in 2005. The I.F.P.I. estimated that nearly
twenty billion tracks were illegally downloaded in 2005. Of course,
internet usage has risen dramatically since 2005; so have the stream
ripping and unauthorized copying. Research shows there are over 250 million
stream ripping programs in use today.
The Subject Webcasters essentially operate as interactive download
services, much like Grokster prior to the landmark decision in MGM v.
Grokster. In Grokster, the U.S.Supreme Court held that the distribution of
a device "with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as
shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster
infringement" imposes liability for the infringement by third parties.
Moreover, the Subject Webcasters have ignored their responsibilities as
statutory licensees. For example, Section 114 (d)(2)(C)(vi) of the Act
requires that a licensee take no affirmative steps to cause or induce
recipients of its transmissions to make phonorecords (i.e., copies) of the
transmissions, and where its technology limits the ability to make such
phonorecords, the licensee is to utilize that technology. Further, the Act
requires that a statutory licensee accommodate and not interfere with
technical measures which protect copyrighted works. See 17 U.S.C. paragraph
MRT developed and disclosed to the Subject Webcasters a technical
measure that protects copyrighted material from being downloaded and
copied. That technical measure is known as the X1 SeCure Sound Controller.
MRT's X1 was investigated and found by the R.I.A.A. to be 100% effective in
preventing stream ripping and protecting the rights of copyright owners
without the slightest degradation of sound integrity. The Subject
Webcasters have refused to accommodate the X1, and some of them have
affirmatively interfered with the X1 by designing their new systems in such
a way as to disable it, all of which constitutes a violation of a statutory
licensee's duty under the Act.
It is for these reasons MRT respectfully requests that the statutory
licenses of the Subject Webcasters be revoked immediately.
Please let us know if you would like additional information. Thank you
for your attention to this important matter.
Very truly yours,
ARCHIE S. ROBINSON
Media Contacts: Quake Cox, Media Rights Technologies
Archie S. Robinson
(1) Stream ripping software allows consumers to capture individual tracks
of digital media streamed over the Internet which are then converted
to perfect digital copies.
(2) For example, Microsoft has incorporated a native stream ripper into
every new Vista Operating System sold.
(3) Christiansen, Ed, "New Life for CD's?", Billboard, April 1, 2006.
(4) IFPI, "The Many Faces of Music Piracy," 2005.
SOURCE Media Rights Technologies, Inc.