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Wu and Cotton mix it up over copyright protection in the digital age

There's a really interesting discussion happening on copyright protections in the new era of YouTube and peer to peer networks. The NY Times organized a debate between Rick Cotton, general counsel of NBC Universal, and Professor Tim Wu from Columbia Law School. You can find it here: bits.blogs.nytimes.com.

The debate mainly has revolved around whether strict copyright protections can and should be observed online, whether internet gatekeepers should control and be responsible for copyright protection, and whether Fair Use is really usable in the unstructured, free-for-all atmosphere of user generated content. The recent report that the CSM released argues that Fair Use is thriving in UGC, and outlines the various categories and next steps to ensure Fair User and copyright holder protection. There is a back and forth between Wu and Cotton specifically discussing Fair Use and UGC, here. While Cotton argues that Fair Use is not a right, and must always be decided on a case-by-case basis, Wu counters that there are basic categories of Fair Use that are well established, and are quite obvious to a reasonable person. This is very similar to what doc makers described in the Statement of Best Practices.