Judge In Napster Trial Plots Copyright Reform Plan

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The judge who presided over the original Napster-killing trial seven years ago proposed a plan yesterday to reform copyright and establish both private and public organizations to license and enforce the law in this digital age. "There needs to be a comprehensive revision of the provisions that relate to the administration of copyright licensing, royalties and enforcement," Judge Miriam Hall Patel said. "I propose that a joint public/private administrative body made up of representatives of all competing interest, including the public, be established and authorized to, among other powers, issue licenses; negotiate, set and administer royalties; and adopt rules and regulations to carry out these purposes." Patel also recommends that "manufacturers and developers would need approval from this body before introducing an application or device capable of recording, distributing or copying music to consumers," described by Patel as "sort of like the FDA, but much faster." Patel realizes now that legislation is not the answer, saying "Our copyright laws have become a patchwork of amendments that are adopted as emergencies arise."

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