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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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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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Tech Talk: Good Digital Parenting

CDT’s Tech Talk is a podcast where we dish on tech and Internet policy, while also explaining what these policies mean to our daily lives. In this episode we talk about good digital parenting and share insights on nonprofit fundraising.

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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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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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EU Copyright Proposals: Do Two Wrongs Make an Ancillary Right?

Copyright reform is one part of the EU Commission’s efforts to develop a Digital Single Market (DSM) for Europe, a vision of a robust digital economy with fewer borders and in which European creators and businesses can thrive. Leaked drafts of the Impact Assessment analyzes the predicted outcomes of the various reform proposals around copyright in light of the goals of the DSM Strategy. Unfortunately, both the proposals and the analysis raise some troubling issues.

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What's Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics? An Interview with the NY Times CEO

Mark Thompson, the President and CEO of the New York Times Company, has a new book coming out. The book, Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics?, explores the role public language is playing in creating a “crisis of trust in politics in the Western world.” In this Q&A, Thompson talks about his new book, and shares his thoughts on how the internet and technology is influencing public discourse.

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