ArtsWatch: Online Ad Networks' Antipiracy Commitment

Rogue websites will be blocked from major sources of advertising revenue
July 22, 2013 -- 7:29 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Ad Networks' Best Practices Are More Than A Game-Changer
On July 15 U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel announced a voluntary best practices agreement with operators of leading Internet advertising networks, including AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. With the support of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the agreement establishes procedures the content industry can follow to deny infringing websites participation in lucrative ad-display revenue opportunities. The MPAA and RIAA welcomed the best practices as a step forward while noting that the agreement is just a beginning. Consumer advocates Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge understand the need for new procedures but expressed concern that some non-infringing websites could be unfairly targeted. The Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus described the announcement as "welcome news" without mentioning the constructive arm-twisting they applied with their letter to the IAB on April 18. While the prize of diminishing rogue websites' ad revenues is desirable, the problem with this is the immense new burden these practices delegate to content owners. Sending out millions of takedown notices to infringing Internet services has been compared to the arcade game Whac-A-Mole because rightsholders score points by hammering at infringers while new ones keep popping up. These ad networks' best practices are the new game in town, likely to generate fresh, costly and massive efforts as the creative community continues to struggle to protect their original works from infringement.

China Agrees To Implement Best Practices For Software Asset Management
The U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue met in Washington, D.C., on July 10–11, producing extensive agreements, including China's commitment to implement software asset management systems in state-owned enterprises. "It is encouraging that China has committed to specific measures, including implementing a software asset management program, to ensure that its state-owned enterprises are using only legal software," said Jodie Kelley, BSA: The Software Alliance general counsel and senior vice president of anti-piracy. "There are proven, internationally recognized best practices for software asset management. Adopting them as common practice would go a long way toward curbing software piracy among state-owned enterprises, and it would send a powerful signal to China's private sector." China also reaffirmed its commitment to continued progress on antipiracy, through tougher legislation and enforcement with "a particular focus on combating Internet piracy."

Aereo Survives Again!
On July 16 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected broadcasters' petition for a review by the court's 13 active judges of the three-judge decision to let Aereo keep operating its business in April. This survival saga has spanned many ArtsWatch columns, but in short the idea is that Aereo hired great lawyers to design a goofy technology allowing them to retransmit broadcast TV over the Internet (without paying for it) while claiming compliance with legal precedent. So far, the Aereo case seems to prove high-cost legal counsel's ability to string out an argument more than it does that Aereo is operating a legitimate business model. The company's business plan likely anticipated extended litigation. The underlying case is still in U.S. District Court in pre-trial discovery. The appeals process is confined to whether Aereo should be prohibited from doing business unless it actually wins the case. Broadcasters are still considering whether to appeal their latest loss to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Unlicensed Soccer-Streaming Website Blocked In Britain
A London High Court judge issued an injunction ordering the UK's six leading Internet service providers to block users from accessing First Row Sports' website, a commercially successful linksite connecting users to unlicensed streams of sporting events. The case was brought by Britain's Football Association Premier League in advance of its season's first game on Aug. 17. First Row Sports told the BBC that the block would not prevent users from accessing the unlicensed streams by other means. But First Row Sports will be deprived of the financial revenue it would have received by displaying paid advertisements to UK computer users.

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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