Florida’s True Origin of Digital Goods Act is a step in the right direction

The Florida Legislature has passed the “True Origin of Digital Goods Act” with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House. In its key provision, the bill establishes that sites that disseminate substantial portions of commercial recordings or audiovisual works must provide contact information in a visible place. The bill’s key provision reads:

A person who owns or operates a website or online service dealing in substantial part in the electronic dissemination of commercial recordings or audiovisual works, directly or indirectly, and who electronically disseminates such works to consumers in this state shall clearly and conspicuously disclose his or her true and correct name, physical address, and telephone number or e-mail address on his or her website or online service in a location readily accessible to a consumer using or visiting the website or online service.

The bill also defines “commercial recording or audiovisual work” as:

a recording or audiovisual work whose owner, assignee, authorized agent, or licensee has disseminated or intends to disseminate such recording or audiovisual work for sale, for rental, or for performance or exhibition to the public, including under license, but does not include an excerpt consisting of less than substantially all of a recording or audiovisual work. A recording or audiovisual work may be commercial regardless of whether a person who electronically disseminates it seeks commercial advantage or private financial gain from the dissemination. The term does not include video games, depictions of video game play, or the streaming of video game activity.

With this definition, the bill provides reasonable and meaningful support to copyright owners for enforcing their rights. By focusing only on sites that make available “substantially all of a recording or audiovisual work”, the bill does not affect users of short excerpts for criticism or review of a protected work, who can remain anonymous if they wish to.

Bad online actors tend to misuse the anonymity of the Internet as one of their lines of defense against the enforcement of copyrights. To that extent, this bill is beneficial to creators who wish to protect their works online. It is also beneficial to consumers, who will have more information about the source where they obtain music or films.

The next step is for Florida Governor Rick Scott to sign this bill into law. If you are a Florida creator, make sure you express your support for this bill by calling Governor Scott at 850-488-7146 and urge him to sign this bill.

photo credit: TimS_Photography/iStock/thinkstock

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