NARM, digitalmusic.org to Bring Entertainment & Technology Law Conference to NYC on 9/13, LA on 10/25

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Like it or not, lawyers and today’s music business go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Underscoring that fact is the return of the Entertainment Music business association NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) and digitalmusic.org, the virtual home of NARM’s digital initiatives, will bring their popular Entertainment & Technology Law Conference series to New York City and Los Angeles.

The New York event will be held Thursday, September 13, from 1-5:30 p.m. at the law offices of Greenberg Traurig in the Met Life Building at 200 Park Ave., while the Los Angeles program will take place Thursday, October 25, in Greenberg Traurig’s west coast office at 1840 Century Park East.

The events will give music law professionals a chance to learn about and discuss a variety of pressing topics that are inspiring vigorous debate in their community, including international anti-piracy strategies, the ReDigi case and its implications for the First Sale Doctrine, digital TV copyright issues, and patent trolls.

Registration is $229 for NARM and digitalmusic.org members and $279 for non-members, with a 40% early bird discount for those who register before Friday, August 24, for the New York event and Friday, October 5, for the Los Angeles event. Students can sign up for a special rate of $49. For more information or to register for the conferences, visit http://www.narm.com/events/entertainment-technology-law-conference-series/09-13-12-nyc for New York or http://www.narm.com/events/entertainment-technology-law-conference-series/10-25-12-los-angeles for Los Angeles.

The preliminary agenda for both events is listed below. Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

•    PANEL 1: Comparing International Anti-Piracy Strategies
Governments worldwide have tried a variety of different methods of reducing online piracy. Some have focused on criminal and civil liability for illegal downloading, others have adopted website blocking and filtering laws, and some have relied primarily on public education and efforts to improve legal distribution services. Panelists will discuss anti-piracy methods employed in various countries, their effectiveness and reasons for differing results, and how lessons learned might be useful to Congress and U.S. markets.

•    PANEL 2: The Continuing Digital Evolution of the First Sale Doctrine
As traditional media continues marching from physical to digital, U.S. courts continue to define the contours of the copyright First Sale Doctrine. Several 9th Circuit decisions recently addressed whether purchasers of games, music and business software are “owners” or merely licensees (Universal Music Group v. Augusto, Vernor v. Autodesk, MDY v. Blizzard), and now a district court in the 2nd Circuit is considering whether the first sale doctrine applies to “digital resale” of sound recordings (Capitol Records v. ReDigi). The panel will discuss the legal theories and the real-world implications of this continuing line of first sale cases, including the potential impact on cloud computing.

•    PANEL 3: Digital Television Innovation, Competition and Copyright.
The Cartoon Network/Cablevision case extended consumer home recording rights to remote DVRs, and now the Aereo case is threatening to extend “home” recording rights to remote antennas that do not even transmit to our homes. Meanwhile, back inside the house, Dish Network’s Hopper DVR has re-ignited the debate about automatic ad-skipping technology, reminding observers of the ReplayTV litigation many years ago. Is television as-we-know-it essentially over? And how will these new models affect traditional revenue streams or create new ones?

•    PANEL 4: Copyright Trolls or Creative Lawyering? Are Mass Copyright Infringement Suits Ethical? Can They Be Effective Deterrents, or a Successful Business Model?

U.S. Copyright Group and Righthaven LLC are two prominent examples of plaintiffs initiating mass copyright infringement suits in partnership with rightsholders. This enforcement model has also been attempted in Germany and the UK. Why has this model not been generally effective? Do ASCAP, BMI and the Copyright Clearance Center provide alternative enforcement models, or are the incentives in those models inadequate to incentivize investors in lawsuits? Why are “patent trolls” more effective than so-called copyright trolls?

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