EFF, Consumer Advocates Say EMI vs MP3tunes Court Battle Threatens Online Safe Harbor
EMI and MP3Tunes.com are in the midst of a court battle that will impact the next generation of cloud based music services. Yesterday, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Public Knowledge, The Consumer Electronic Association and other consumer groups sided with MP3Tunes and most music fans by asking a federal judge to protect "safe harbor" rules for online content.MP3Tunes offers a locker service to sync personal digital music and video collections to the cloud and access them from anywhere. In a lawsuit that has dragged on for some time, EMI claims that MP3Tunes should be held responsible for infringing content stored in the lockers of some of its users. Consumer groups argue that MP3Tunes is immune from liability because it does not engage in, encourage or benefit from copyright infringement and removes material when notified as required by the "safe harbor" provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
In the amicus brief filed Tuesday, the consumer advocates argue that EMI is trying to rewrite the "safe harbor" provisions. "The DMCA safe harbors were designed to encourage the growth of new Internet innovations and expression by helping service providers manage their legal exposure, and they've been an extraordinary success," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Without the safe harbor provisions, companies like YouTube, Facebook, and many others could have been shut down before they got off the ground. That's not what Congress intended."