We’ve looked into the future, and at the first 5 legal issues in technology and entertainment law that we think will be big in 2015. Now it’s time to round out the rest of the top 10 just in time to ring in the new year.
If the numerous Congressional hearings about copyright reform are any indication, copyright will loom large in 2015. As we all are well aware, the current copyright law doesn’t always provide clear solutions in today’s fast-moving technological environment, and this uncertainty has led to calls for reform. It will be interesting to see whether these changes come in the new year, and what the new reforms may bring. If you want to get an idea, check out the recently released update to the Copyright Compendium over at the Copyright Office’s website over at www.copyright.gov.
Online payments have been a hot topic in 2014, particularly with the introduction of ApplePay as a feature on the iPhone 6. From Google Wallet to ApplePay to changes in credit card technology, payment technologies look to continue to develop , as well as make the news in 2015. There is a lot of potential for the growth of sales on smart phones, but the numerous hacking incidents this year illuminate the very real risk of identity theft if these technologies were to be hacked. Regulators will also be watching the development of these technologies, and likely looking to introduce laws to help try to protect consumers using these devices, but as with many new technologies, the onus will initially be on the operators of these technologies to keep consumer information safe.
From Gamergate to the case that came before the Supreme Court this term that had Chief Justice John Roberts quoting Eminem lyrics, 2014 featured a lot of discussion of whether the First Amendment protects threats posted by people against others online. While trolls seem to be as inherent to the internet as baseball and apple pie are to Americana, the serious and frightening threats that some Gamergate targets received (and ultimately caused them to leave their homes for fear of attack) are raising questions as to whether there should be repercussions for posting such threats. The Supreme Court’s decision in 2015 should certainly shed light on the issue, but in this writer’s estimation will hardly be the last word on the matter.
It almost goes without saying that hacking will keep its lofty perch as one of the top issues in technology and entertainment law in 2015. As the fallout from the Sony Pictures hack continues, and big companies like Target and Home Depot work to recover from their data breaches earlier in the year, companies and consumers alike will continue to be concerned about the security of their data, and looking for solutions to protect themselves from hackers.
10. Royalties for Online Music
Taylor Swift made big headlines in 2014 for pulling her music off of the online music service Spotify in favor of selling it at Target, and through other online music outlets. This move highlighted the very real tension between artists and streaming music services over the matter of how much artists are paid for having their music played, which can in some instances be far less than one would imagine millions of plays would generate. In addition, as several lawsuits are pending over similar issues being litigated by the performing rights organizations, as well as satellite radio stations, it appears that we will see even more developments related to how much artists are paid for having their music played online in the new year.
So that’s our list for hot issues in technology and entertainment law in 2015. Now it’s time to wind down the new year here in the U.S. Wishing you a safe and happy new year. Cheers!