The Internet has given millions of people the capability to share information with each other with just the click of a button. People have grown accustomed to learning about current events, researching, and gathering information all through digital news sources. Unfortunately, the ease of the Internet has also created complications with regulating how users share that information. As technology rapidly advances, the legal limitations concerning intellectual property rights have become blurred, resulting in different interpretations of the Copyright Act of 1976. This has complicated user compliance and created difficult questions for the courts to answer based largely on law that was created before many of the capabilities of the Internet existed. There is a need for consistency and balance in this area of the law so that copyright owners are afforded adequate protection and the Internet can continue to serve as an information gathering, content sharing platform without fostering infringement.
Over the years, the Internet has become a vast space for people to create and view content shared by millions of Internet users. The abundance of content makes it nearly impossible to regulate everything that is posted. This has created a problem for authors, songwriters, and artists whose work is protected by copyright laws, because it has become increasingly easy for anyone to use, copy, and share copyrighted works that they do not have the right to use. Copyright law exists to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” While the Copyright Act clearly grants artists certain exclusive rights to their work, claims of infringement often cause courts to engage in subjective analyses that leave some areas of copyright protection unclear. This has been especially problematic with fanfiction. In Fanfiction, fans of existing books, movies and television shows used different elements of those works to write their own stories, which are often then posted on websites such as, fanfiction.net. Fanfiction raises questions of copyright infringement and whether online forums should be more strictly regulated to monitor compliance with copyright laws.
It is no secret that streaming services have been a highly controversial issue in the entertainment industry in recent years. Artists from all over the world have been affected by the rise of music streaming; many believe it is no different than piracy. Nevertheless, Spotify is in fifty-eight countries, and the user base consists of over fifty million subscribers globally, with twelve and a half million paying subscribers. As Spotify has grown, questions have risen surrounding the rights that artists, producers, and writers have to their music that the public has access to through ‘streaming’. As technology advances, the music industry will continue to change. The recently filed lawsuits against Spotify show that this is an underdeveloped area of the law that needs to be explored. The decisions regarding Spotify’s streaming service and compliance with copyright laws will have major implications for not just Spotify, but the entire music industry.