‘More flexible legal framework needed for digital copyright’ – Google

19 Nov 2010

Google has said new technology and innovation should not be threatening for the music industry and encouraged the development of a legal framework in Ireland to make music copyright work online.

Speaking at a seminar hosted at Google’s Irish HQ in Dublin and moderated by the chairman of Digital Rights Ireland, Google’s public policy manager Niall O’Riardan stressed Google wishes to protect the copyright of rights holders but also wanted to protect the “remix” culture the internet has fostered over the last few years.

He spoke about how sites like YouTube are working with record labels to both allow users to create video content and provide revenue for music companies.

He used the example of the ‘JK Wedding entrance’ video, where a wedding party danced into the church to the tune of Chris Brown’s Forever. The video has been incredibly popular, attracting almost 60 million views.

However, the record label, rather than try to get the video removed for using its copyrighted content, instead had a link for people to buy the song on iTunes. They found that the track hit No 4 in the iTunes chart, more than a year after its initial release.

While O’Riardan said “no policy maker, however brilliant, could’ve predicted” the evolution of the web, he believed law makers should be aware that over the next number of years, technology will continue to change and innovate.

“We have to ask ourselves whether it’s possible or desirable to be in a situation where we need to be turning to copyright reform every time a new development in technology comes out,” said O’Riardan.

“In our context, as a small country wanting to be an internet hub and bringing that to the next level, we really need to think about whether our laws are really fit for purpose.

“We don’t want to fall behind unnecessarily, not just from the US but from other regions of the world which are competitive and are thinking about these things, as well,” he said.

O’Riardan believes that the fair use framework, as seen in the US, is broad and flexible, suitable for emerging technologies. He feels it should be taken up in Ireland in order to keep up with other markets.