Business Matters: Copyright Office Proposes Federalization of Protections for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
Business Matters: Copyright Office Proposes Federalization of Protections for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

We'll Take 'Em: U.S. Copyright's Office's Plan For Pre-1972 Recordings
-- The U.S. Copyright Office has recommended that sound recordings made before February 15, 1972 be under the auspices of the federal government. The report, issued December 28, proposes provisions to address issues of copyright ownership, term of protection, termination of transfers and copyright registration.

"We believe that bringing pre-1972 sound recordings into the federal copyright system serves the interests of consistency and certainty, and will assist libraries and archives in carrying out their missions while also offering additional rights and protection for sound recording right holders," Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante said in a statement. The Copyright Office had been instructed by Congress to study on the "desirability and means" of extending federal copyright protection to pre-1972 sound recordings.

Pre-1972 recordings are currently subject to a variety of state laws until, under federal law, they fall into public domain in 2067. That creates uncertainty, argues Matthew Dames, Syracuse University's Copyright & Information Policy Adviser. In a letter to the Copyright Office, Dames explained that uncertainty created by differing state laws has threatened and stalled Syracuse archival projects.

The report acknowledges the record labels' objection that federalizing protection of pre-1972 sound recordings "would cast a cloud over existing ownership of rights in those Recordings." But the Copyright Office believes the objection is "not insurmountable" and can be address by Congress by "expressly providing that the ownership of copyright in the sound recording shall vest in the person who owned the rights under state law just prior to the enactment of the federal statute."

Under the Copyright Office's proposals, federalization would mean all rights and limitations of Title 17 of the U.S. Code covering post-1972 sound recordings would also apply to pre-1972 sound recordings. Title 17 covers public performance rights for digital transmissions, fair use, ephemeral recordings for broadcasters and transmitting organizations and safe harbor for Internet service providers, among other items.
( Library Journal)


How Social Commerce Will Reshape 2012

-- What better way to close out 2011 than with thoughts of how social commerce will help reshape 2012? Marcus Whitney, CTO of social commerce Moontoast, penned a post for VentureBeat about why the biggest retailers and affinity brands haven't "wiped the floor" with social startups like Fab.com that have quickly attracted millions of people through thematic fire sales. Is it the discounts? Is it because people like fire sales?

Whitney argues today's new breed of retailer is better at using social media to speak to consumers in the way they want to be spoken to. "The brand they are talking about is merely the subject of the conversation, not the voice initiating it," he writes. "And guess what, people react really well to messages from their friends, and even their acquaintances, when the topic is something they are genuinely interested in, something they have an affinity for. It's why Gartner predicts that 50% of sales will come from Social and Mobile by 2015…No more mindless herding of 'users' through search engine optimization, insulting advertisements and inbox overload. Today, companies with an authentic voice, the desire to be part of a conversation rather than dominate it, and a novel offering are going to put the brands that don't evolve into extinction. Why? Because the people want it that way."
( VentureBeat)

Gowalla's End
-- In case you missed it, Facebook acquired the Gowalla team (its founders and some other staffers) in early December. It didn't acquit Gowalla's assets, just the team behind Gowalla. The team will continue their work at Facebook while the service will cease to exist.

Gowalla
is a location-based social app in the vein of Foursquare. It rarely got the accolades that were heaped on Foursquare, but the company was active in music and worked with Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, Freelance Whales and others.

Because Gowalla will be "winding down" at the end of January, users will need to take their data elsewhere. "We plan to provide an easy way to export your Passport data, your Stamp and Pin data (along with your legacy Item data), and your photos as well," co-founder Josh Williams writes at the company's blog. "Facebook is not acquiring Gowalla's user data."
( Gowalla blog)