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Copyright Report Recommends Wide-Ranging Study

A National Academy of Sciences National Research Council report on the state of copyright says that, given the current debate over the issue typified by the fight over SOPA-PIPA online piracy legislation that died in the last Congress, it is time for a comprehensive study of the implication of digital age changes on the copyright, patent and trademark regimes.

The report, titled "Copyright in the Digital Era: Building Evidence for Policy," also recommended a consumer survey of how user-generated content is created and consumed.

It frames the current debate as one between those "who believe the digital revolution is progressively undermining the copyright protection essential to encourage the funding, creation, and distribution of new works, and those who believe that enhancements to copyright are inhibiting technological innovation and free expression."

The first part describes broadcasters' view of the digital technology Aereo is using to deliver TV station signals online without paying a copyright royalty as disruptive.

In a statement, Michael O'Leary, senior EVP of the Motion Picture Association of America, which backed SOPA-PIPA legislation to crack down on online piracy, praised the work of the researchers.

"We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the research committee, which included Mitch Singer, Chief Digital Strategy Officer, Executive Vice President, New Media and Technology, Sony Entertainment, Inc.," he said. "As the committee noted, 'the ease of infringing digital copying and distribution often weakens sales and reduces the revenue available to creators.' A major challenge to all of us is to identify potential avenues of solution, including the creative content and technology industries working more closely together to help ensure an Internet that works for everyone."