The UCLA Entertainment Law Review (“ELR”) is an international law journal published once or twice a year by the UCLA School of Law. Since 1994, ELR’s staff has worked diligently to bring to our subscribers academic work of the highest quality, as well as articles that tackle the most novel and cutting edge issues in the field of entertainment law.
Volume 23, Issue 1, 2016
In the 21st century, a large part of our identities exist on the Internet. When we apply for jobs, meet a new person, or make plans to go out to eat at a restaurant, one of the most accessible tools to use is Google. But who is monitoring this and how are people managing their online identities? In the European Union, there exists a “Right to be Forgotten”, which allows one to petition Google and other search engines to “unlink” one’s identity from a website under certain circumstances. Following this unlinkage, the website continues to exist with the same content, but it no longer exists when a search is performed linking the persona to the article. This article proposes solutions to the privacy problems presented by an unchecked World Wide Web, recognizing that while the EU’s system might not work in the US, a system needs to be implemented to deal with the fact that the Internet never forgets.
Broadcast television in the United States is under siege. Viewers are jumping ship, finding their news and entertainment on the Internet. A thicket of intellectual property license restrictions makes it difficult for broadcasters to follow them. Some content producers limit distribution for the acknowledged purpose of slowing the migration to new technologies. The FCC’s Broadcast Incentive Auction provides an opportunity for TV stations to get a fresh start. By abandoning expensive transmitters and antennas, by embracing the Uber ride-sharing model of contingent work, by taking advantage of the creativity of indie video producers, by utilizing the full potential of targeted advertising, and by adopting best practices for Internet dissemination of news and entertainment, the FCC Incentive Auction can preserve what is best about television: on-the-spot journalism, careful analysis of public affairs, and compelling drama and comedy that make people think.
The system for licensing music in the United States for public performances through radio, television, digital services, and other distribution media is complicated, arcane, and heavily regulated. Its basic structure is oriented toward transmitting music through analog channels. Although much of the pricing of music rights is supposed to be based on competitive prices, the current interdependent system of collective licensing of performing rights and widespread regulation of music prices (royalties) is inconsistent with the development of a competitive market and its associated efficiencies. Collective licensing by a handful of performing rights organizations (PROs) provides the current rationale for price regulation. However, the existence of price regulation has entrenched collective licensing and the position of those PROs. Accordingly, a more competitive system entails moving away from collective licensing.
In this paper we review the current structure of the music licensing system and suggest ways of making it more competitive and less reliant on regulation. Central to our proposals are: a) a comprehensive, standardized database of musical compositions—including the specific sound recording version, where relevant—and their owners so that distributors and users can readily identify the rights-holder from whom they need to license rights, along with a safe harbor provision that would provide the appropriate incentives for rights-owners to contribute their information to the database; b) a greater ability of intermediaries to aggregate the various categories of music ownership rights; and c) the consequent development of more competitive negotiations and transactions between music rights-holders and music distributors.