Revoke Webcasting Licenses from iTunes, MSN Music, RealNetworks, Yahoo - The Media Rights Technologies Petition to The Librarian of Congress

Jul 10, 2007, 01:00 ET from Media Rights Technologies, Inc.

    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
 digital content.
     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
 ("Subject Webcasters").
     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[1] capability within their
 systems[2]. 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
 of royalties.
     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.[3] The I.F.P.I. estimated that nearly
 twenty billion tracks were illegally downloaded in 2005.[4] 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
 114 (d)(2)(C)(viii).
     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,
     Media Contacts:  Quake Cox, Media Rights Technologies
     Archie S. Robinson
     (408) 792-5901
     (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.