Feeds

Senator Hatch rides again: Napster hearings

Round two, letter to Dubya

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

US Senator Orrin Hatch (Republican, Utah) is wasting no time in mounting a challenge to the recording industry, which recently scored a technical knockout over Napster in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ruling paves the way for the recording industry to shut Napster down before the case is heard.

Hatch hinted in a speech Wednesday that he might consider holding hearings of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which he serves as chairman; but in an open letter to the President he suggests that this is already in the works.

"I believe the Judiciary Committee will need to hold hearings on the [Ninth Circuit] decision's possible implications and to get an update on developments in the online music market. I will consult with my Ranking Member and other interested parties, and will likely look into the matter in the coming weeks," the letter says.

One of the more regrettable features of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which Hatch incidentally sponsored, is some carefully-worded vagueness which all but ensures that when there's a copyright dispute like this one, whoever can afford to spend the most on legal expenses will win.

Napster is at a clear disadvantage under the law as it is written, and Hatch seems to have this in mind where he writes, "my feeling about this Ninth Circuit decision is a gnawing concern that this legal victory for the record labels may prove pyrrhic or short-sighted from a policy perspective."

He just can't seem to get over the sheer unfairness of what's happening. "By ordering the lower court to impose a preliminary injunction -- before a trial on the merits, mind you -- on this service that had developed a community of over 50 million music fans, [the Ninth Circuit ruling] could have the effect of shutting down Napster entirely, depriving more than 50 million consumers access to a music service they have enjoyed."

Hatch, incidentally, is himself a musician. Perhaps his own business contacts with recording-industry piranha have disposed him to keep such a jaundiced eye on the RIAA and its minions.

In any case, one imagines that the threat of another round of public hearings might just motivate the industry to reach an accommodation with Napster. What's at stake for Napster, obviously, is its very survival, and the industry may feel that its upper hand is so strong that it can squash it like a bug.

But what's at stake for the industry, ultimately, is the possibility that Congress might just tighten up all the loopholes which their lobbyists so slyly wove into the DMCA, and that's a risk they dare not take, regardless of how well situated they are at the moment.

Anyone wishing to encourage the Senator to keep up the pressure may send him an e-mail memo at this address. ®

Related Stories

Senator Hatch rides to Napster's rescue
Napster ruling merely delays injunction
Senator Hatch's Napster Epiphany

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.