Copyright law not keeping up

From Napster to iTunes to Pandora, the methods by which the public can obtain and share music have rapidly progressed.

Future groundbreaking innovations may need to wait, though, as the next generation of technology is being stymied by the very copyright laws that seek to protect the industry, says Michael Carrier, a professor of law at Rutgers–Camden.

Attention to copyright and innovation issues increased in early 2012, when thousands of internet sites participated in a “blackout” protest against two controversial anti-piracy laws that would have punished websites that host pirated content.

Due to widespread public protests, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were ultimately pulled off the table.

Carrier posted his article on this topic to the Social Science Research Network in July, where it became the no. 1 downloaded article and was downloaded 3,000 times in one week.

The article also generated coverage from Billboard magazine, the New York Times blog, and more than 50 music, arts, law, and technology websites around the world.

A Philadelphia resident, Carrier is the author of Innovation for the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of Intellectual Property and Antitrust Law (Oxford University Press, 2009).

He is a co-director of the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and Law and teaches courses in intellectual property, antitrust, and property law at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden.