Florida passes new law targeting infringing content

June 2015



Governor Rick Scott has signed Florida’s “True Origin of Digital Goods Act” into law. The new law will require owners or operators of websites or online services that offer downloads or streams of music or music videos to “clearly and conspicuously disclose” the webste owner’s name, physical address, and telephone number or email address. The law will take effect July 1st 2015. The law applies to websites that distribute audiovisual content “to consumers in this state,” and is not limited to companies headquartered or with physical locations in Florida and can have apply to companies located outside of Florida, depending on its connections and business with consumers residing in Florida.


In particular, the law requires that:


A person who owns or operates a website or online service dealing in substantial part in the electronic dissemination of commercial recordings or audiovisual works, directly or indirectly, and who electronically disseminates such works to consumers in this State shall clearly and conspicuously disclose his or her true and correct name, physical address, and telephone number or e-mail address on his or her website or online service in a location readily accessible to a consumer using or visiting the website or online service.


“commercial recording or audiovisual works,” defined as:


A recording or audiovisual work whose owner, assignee, authorized agent, or licensee has disseminated or intends to disseminate such recording or audiovisual work for sale, for rental, or for performance or exhibition to the public, including under license, but does not include an excerpt consisting of less than substantially all of a recording or audiovisual work. A recording or audiovisual work may be commercial regardless of whether a person who electronically disseminates it seeks commercial advantage or private financial gain from the dissemination. The term does not include video games, depictions of video game play, or the streaming of video game activity.


The contact information must be provided in one or more of the following locations:


– A landing or home web page or screen

– An “about” or “about us” web page or screen

– A “contact” or “contact us” web page screen

– An information web page or screen

– Another place on the website or online service commonly used to display identifying information to consumers


Copyright owners have the right to seek injunctive relief by way of a declaratory judgment in the event a website owner violates the law. While the law does not specifically permit recovery of damages, it does not limit the copyright owner’s ability to sue the website owner for damages under applicable copyright law and other laws. The law does provide that the prevailing party is entitled to recover necessary expenses and reasonable attorney fees. Prior to filing a lawsuit the copyright owner must make reasonable efforts to place the website owner on notice that the owner and site may be in violation of law, and that failure to cure within 14 days may result in a civil action being filed. The copyright owner can then seek an order compelling compliance with the law.





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