A Cloudy Celestial Jukebox: Copyright Law Issues Concerning Cloud-Based Storing and Sharing Music Services

A Cloudy Celestial Jukebox: Copyright Law Issues Concerning Cloud-Based Storing and Sharing Music Services

Pedro Pina (Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0264-7.ch009
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Abstract

Cloud computing offers internet users the fulfillment of the dream of a Celestial Jukebox providing music, films or digital books anywhere and when they want. However, some activities done in the Cloud, especially file-sharing, may infringe copyright law's exclusive rights, like the right of reproduction or the making available right. The purposes of the present chapter are to briefly examine how digital technology like p2p systems or Cloud computing potentiate new distribution models, how they allow unauthorized uses of copyright protected works and to point out solutions to reconcile the interests of rightholders and consumers so that the benefits from digital technology can be enjoyed by all the stakeholders in a legal and balanced way.
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Introduction

In 1994, Goldstein predicted the celestial jukebox, described as a system by which subscribers around the world could rapidly and cheaply connect to “a vast storehouse of entertainment and information through a home or office receiver combining the powers of a television, radio, CD and DVD player, telephone, fax, and personal computer” (2003, p. 187). Instead of getting access to corporeal supports of copyrighted works through traditional distribution channels like physical mail, consumers would be able to download stored copies of copyright protected works and to reproduce them wherever they had an internet connection. Exclusive rights granted by copyright law, once erected regarding the analog world, should be extended to every corner where they have value, which, from the rightholders’ point of view, would compensate the lowering of prices derived from the reduction of transaction costs wrought by digital technology.

In the most part, Goldstein’s predictions turned out to be pretty accurate, since the celestial jukebox’s digital delivery model exists and is working today, with digital services provided by traditional suppliers of creative content, like record labels, book publishers or film studios, but also directly by individual suppliers like authors deviating from the formers’ activities. In fact, the emergence of digital technology, primarily the internet, has created the possibility of a free and global flow of informational contents that was reflected in the metaphor of the information highway and, soon, the economic facet of this inter- relational digital structure was revealed and online markets and e-commerce were developed. However, informational cybermarket revealed some problems concerning the immaterial and intellectual nature of its products, like music, movies, digital books or software, as some important realities like file-sharing, p2p or cloud computing, which were not anticipated by Goldstein, have put into stress in a much more dramatic way than the one foreseen the traditional delivery model protected by copyright law exclusive rights.

From the perspective of rightholders, a vast amount of digital creative content escaped from their control, since it started to flow and to be distributed without previous authorization and remuneration, decreasing the incentive to create.

For that reason, the European Commission declared in the Green Paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy that

A high level of copyright protection is crucial for intellectual creation. Copyright ensures the maintenance and development of creativity in the interests of authors, producers, consumers and the public at large. A rigorous and effective system for the protection of copyright and related rights is necessary to provide authors and producers with a reward for their creative efforts and to encourage producers and publishers to invest in creative works (2008, p. 4).

The purposes of the present chapter are to examine how digital technology like p2p systems or cloud computing potentiate new distribution models, how they allow unauthorized uses of copyright protected works and to point out solutions to reconcile the interests of rightholders and consumers so that the benefits from digital technology can be enjoyed by all the stakeholders in a legal and balanced way.

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Cloud Based Storing And Sharing Music Services

The traditional delivery model of the creative industry needs copyright protection to thrive. In fact, from an economic point of view, creative and aesthetic copyrightable contents, being informational and immaterial goods, are public goods. The consumption of an informational good by one person doesn’t exclude the possibility of consumption by others, which means that they are non-rivaled goods.

Furthermore, without regulation, no one can be excluded from using the referred goods, which means that they are non-excludable goods. The identified characteristics are emphasized in the digital world as the positive externalities created by the free flow of copyrighted content information increase disproportionately, to the disadvantage of creators and rights’ holders. That is the general justification for public regulation of the intellectual creations’ market where intellectual property law is presented as an instrument used to fictionalize scarcity, since it gives the rightholders the economic exclusive right of the works’ exploitation, excluding others from it without proper authorization (Pina, 2011, p. 303).

If copyright law was seen as an instrument to lock-up creative information, the internet was proclaimed as an environment where, following Brand’s famous slogan, information wants to be free. And that is so, according to Brand,

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