ArtsWatch: Mega Coming In 2013

Kim Dotcom announces plans for cloud storage service with upgraded immune system
November 05, 2012 -- 7:42 am PST
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Megaupload's Second Coming
In a Nov. 1 interview with Reuters, the notorious Kim Dotcom announced plans for a January launch of Mega, a new cloud storage website. Arrested earlier this year in New Zealand for his Megaupload site's pirated content, Dotcom has maintained he was singled out as a target while following standard industry practices of taking down infringing material once notified. The limited details released so far regarding Mega include an emphasis on user-based encryption, purportedly to prevent the service from being held responsible for users' decisions. Dotcom also told Reuters, "The new Mega avoids any dealings with U.S. hosters, U.S. domains and U.S. backbone providers and has changed the way it operates to avoid another takedown." Since the new Me.ga is hosted in Gabon, one has to wonder whether its proprietor's name, Dotcom, is becoming out-of-date. Will next year also see the launch of Kim Dotga?

Copyright Alert System To Re-inspect Infringement Detection
On Oct. 30 the Center for Copyright Information responded with several pledges to accusations that its Copyright Alert System was tainted. Internet service providers have agreed to participate in CAS and provide subscribers with warnings and educational materials if they are detected infringing copyrighted content. CCI partnered with MarkMonitor to provide detection and contracted digital security consultants Stroz Friedberg to evaluate MarkMonitor. Critics voiced suspicions as reports surfaced that Stroz Friedberg previously provided the RIAA with lobbying services, and accused CCI of having failed to remain independent and impartial. CCI Executive Director Jill Lesser committed to a fresh evaluation of MarkMonitor and to make Stroz Friedberg's existing evaluation public. "We are ... sensitive to any appearance that Stroz lacks independence ... We are working to build a system consumers can trust," she said.

France's Three-Strikes Agency Trimmed, Not Chopped
Billboard.biz and the Copyright and Technology blog took a favorable close look at the section of last month's report by the French government that concerned HADOPI, the agency in charge of France's three-strikes antipiracy program. The report revealed the agency's budget will be reduced by 23 percent, a moderate reduction compared to August reports that it would be greatly reduced. HADOPI will be adding a handful of additional personnel and expanding its purview to include video games while trying to reduce costs. If the goal was to punish infringers, this graduated response program seems like a multimillion-dollar waste, but its goal is to reduce infringement while promoting France's digital music marketplace. Preliminary data has encouraged observers to hope that U.S. downloaders, who will be targeted by the Copyright Alert System, will respond as favorably as French downloaders have. It seems the warning and education model was more than 90 percent effective the first time warnings were sent, and in the cases where follow-ups were necessary, these second strikes have also become more than 90 percent effective. The job of cracking down on committed content pirates will call for a different approach, but for now, and for hopes of greater revenue from licensed digital content, French is the language of love.

After Years Of Pressure, Google Commits To Anticounterfeiting Partnership
On Oct. 31 Google and Rosetta Stone announced the settlement of the language software developer's long-standing suit against the search engine for trademark infringement and declared their intention to collaborate on anticounterfeiting efforts. The parties' press release announced, "By working together, Google and Rosetta Stone hope to improve detection methods, and better protect from abuse brands like Rosetta Stone, advertising platforms like Google AdWords, and ultimately consumers on the Internet. At the end of the day, both companies would rather cooperate than litigate, and we believe this agreement is an important step toward eliminating piracy and trademark abuse on the Internet."

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

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