If you haven’t been following events, Capitol Records (EMI) has sued Boston-based Redigi (a used digital music marketplace) for what amounts to copyright infringement.
Today, Google decided to enter the fray as a third party, and filed an amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) to ask the court to allow their participation in some key disputes. In Google’s estimation, Capitol Records is attempting to blur the established fair use, copyright legal lines.
Here is what Google is trying to protect:
1. The ability to allow people, at their own discretion, to move or copy their legally owned digital files.
2. That the service provider cannot be held liable for a users action with regards to #1
3. The fair use doctrine where users can copy their legally owned, digital files to other devices or cloud services controlled by the user.
4. That ReDigi is infringing on Capitol’s exclusive right to “distribute copies or phonorecords,” despite Capitol’s admission that no material objects are distributed. And that Google, “urges the Court to reject an internally inconsistent argument that would weaken the statutory restrictions on the distribution right.”
Capitol is fighting for the old status quo and is willing to sacrifice anyone that gets in their way. Their filing against Redigi is an attempt to rewrite and revise established law to suit their pre-digital interests.
Why? As Google states, they are fighting over a 41 billion marketplace. A marketplace slowing slipping out of their control. Instead of embracing the future, they’re endeavoring to fight it.
They may also be concerned about the conversations swirling around regarding some deep pocket investments and/or the potential acquisition of Redigi by some major players. If that happens, the music industry will need a new strategy in its attempt to avoid irrelevancy.
The Music Industry Needs a New Strategy
It’s as if the Capitol Records legal team is litigating for litigation sake. Cranking up the last bit of fees in an attempt to milk the last bit of cash from the last bit of control Capitol has on the industry.
As Google warns: “The Court can and should deny the motion for preliminary injunction without reaching the complex and profound legal issues outlined above because any decision should be informed.”
One has to wonder if Capitol has been informed that we’ve entered the digital age. Because their decision to fight, not embrace and profit from the new, digital era will only expedite their departure from it.