Stop suing tech investors over copyright!

Latest lawsuits against playlist sites show music industry's plan to chill investment in technologies they don't like. For small companies like Favtape and Seeqpod, angels and VCs may quickly decide the risk isn't worth the effort.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

Ray Beckerman throws down the gauntlet on the music industry's latest attack on technology and innovation - suing investors in tech companies, which if successful would cast a chill on the lifeblood of technology.

EMI and its associated companies recently sued Seeqpod and Favtape -- and its management investors -- in a case alleging direct, vicarious, contributory copyright infringement, as well as inducing copyright infringement. Beckerman said:

This trend the content companies are showing towards attempting to threaten the investors in technologies they feel are infringing their copyrights is alarming, especially in view of the woeful state of our economy. The last thing this country needs is to discourage potential investment in emerging technology. If a professional investor determines that one type of investment will put his personal assets at risk ... because one of the company's exposures happens to be in copyright infringement due to the unsettled state of copyright law in the 21st century ... he or she will decide -- guess what -- to take a pass. Which is exactly what the cold and calculating content cartel is hoping will happen.

What is needed is a new law to protect investors from copyright claims. Here's his draft of proposed legislation. Anyone in Washington willing to push this agenda? How about ChangeCongress?

No person or entity can be subject to secondary liability for copyright infringement by a corporation or other business organization based in whole or in part upon (a) work he or she did in his or her capacity as a member of the board of directors or committee thereof, or (b) his or her having invested in any such corporation, including any oversight, monitoring, or due diligence activities in connection therewith.

It shall be a violation of this section to name any such person as a defendant in a claim.

Any person named as a defendant in a claim in violation of this provision, shall be entitled to his, her, or its attorneys fees, trebled.

This statute shall be applicable to pending actions, except that claimants shall be afforded thirty (30) days from its effective date, as a matter of right, to withdraw or abandon any claims which are or may be in violation of the statute.

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