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Blurring the Lines in Music Copyright Will Hurt Artists and Online Hosts

In the copyright infringement verdict against artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, a jury found the music duo guilty of copying the “total concept and feel” of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit song, “Got to Give It Up.” This holding creates the potentially dangerous notion that copyright extends past protectable elements such as melody to cover more ambiguous fields like “vibe,” “groove,” and “feel,” and could lead to significant repercussions in an era of takedowns.

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Don’t Weaken the FCC’s Proposed Privacy Rules

As the gateway to the internet, broadband providers have access to massive amounts of data about internet users’ browsing activities, communications, and preferences. This data can reveal sensitive personal information. The FCC has proposed a strong set of rules for broadband providers that will allow for innovation while giving consumers necessary and meaningful choice as to how their information is used. These rules should not be weakened.

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Airbnb

San Francisco's Homesharing Ordinance Conflicts With Federal Legal Protection for User-Generated Content

Some legislative crackdowns in the U.S. on short-term rental listings conflict with existing federal law – Section 230 of the Communications Act – designed to shield online content hosts against liability for their users’ speech. As state and local regulators contemplate the on-demand economy, they must understand that the federal framework for shielding intermediaries – and promoting free speech online – means that some options are off the table.

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IANA

Stopping or Delaying the IANA Transition is a Terrible Idea

In the run up to the long anticipated IANA transition on September 30, “internet give-away” rhetoric is obscuring the reality that stopping or delaying the IANA transition will undermine the interests of businesses, human rights organizations, the technical community, and the United States Government. Paradoxically, those who believe that there will be an “internet give-away” fail to realize that what they fear – empowered authoritarian regimes, imperiled free expression, and the eventual take-over of the internet by other governments or the UN – is most likely to occur by preventing the transition from happening.

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Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Michigan’s Punitive Sex Offender Law

Last week, the Sixth Circuit issued its decision in Doe v. Snyder, a case challenging state sex offender registry requirements in which CDT participated as amici. We argued that Michigan’s strict requirements for registrants to disclose their online identifiers to the authorities violated their First Amendment rights to speak without permission and self-identification. We won, in a sense: the federal court of appeals struck down Michigan’s registry law as an unconstitutional retroactive punishment, in violation of the Ex Post Facto clause.

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gjh

Event Recap: Presentation of Dr. Monica Horten's paper on uncertainty for internet intermediaries in EU

On 6 September in Brussels, CDT presented the paper Content ‘responsibility’: The looming cloud of uncertainty for internet intermediaries, authored by Dr. Monica Horten. Following the presentation of the paper, CDT hosted a lively debate with the participation of both the audience and the panel. The panel noted several European Commission draft proposals seem to be in contradiction with current legislation as they imply monitoring obligations for intermediaries.

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How does the internet know your race?

Your race is among many characteristics that can be inferred and used to serve you personalized content. Recent research by CDT and a team at the University of California Berkeley show that this practice continues to raise concerns with the public. We asked 748 people how they felt about online personalization based on a variety of characteristics, and personalization based on race achieved the most consistently negative results.

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