New Law Would Target Digital Music Pirates

Among the slew of bills lawmakers passed late last month is one to protect online music sites from piracy. While Governor Bill Haslam hasn’t moved on the bill yet, and says he doesn’t know much about it, he likes the idea behind it.

The measure aims to protect websites like Pandora, where some users pay a fee to stream music over the web. The worry is pirates could undercut such services by sharing their account passwords. So this bill would go after anyone doing so en masse.

Haslam seems poised to support the measure.

“I think we do have an issue with music piracy in this country, and in this state the entertainment industry being such a big part of it, anything we can do to cut that back I would be in favor – I don’t know enough about that legislation, but if it’s combating that issue I would be in favor of it.”

When a committee of senators asked how it will be enforced, an industry official acknowledged that part’s still murky. But he said they have to be proactive, because physical media are going away.


Raw audio on the measure from a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on May 10.

(direct mp3 download)
Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) explains the bill (SB1659) before a member raises a question of enforcement, which is then addressed by an industry rep.

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