ArtsWatch: Taylor Swift's State Of The Industry Op-Ed

Wall Street Journal opinion-editorial takes middle road and draws fire
July 14, 2014 -- 7:03 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Singer/Songwriter/Pundit Unleashes Her Pro-Innovation Perspective
On July 7 The Wall Street Journal published a Taylor Swift op-ed sharing her insights on the future of the music industry and the ever-evolving relationship between fans and artists. She addressed the need to stay relevant and surprising, "to think of inventive ways of keeping … audiences on their toes," and wrote, "The only real risk is being too afraid to take a risk at all." Her wide-ranging and sincere editorial has sparked an equally wide range of reactions from the press. Billboard described her insights as "unsurprising and middle-of-the-road mainstream," and proceeded to address noteworthy omissions, especially what is becoming an increasingly "winner-take-all" environment in the music business. Vox.com and the Washington Post Style Blog emphasized economic counterarguments, with Vox concluding that, "Being Taylor Swift is perhaps more valuable than Taylor Swift's music." The Atlantic did a nice job of defending Swift, both headlining and concluding with the statement, "There will always be a market for emotion." All in all Swift's first foray into punditry as an "enthusiastic optimist" was another capable and valid expression of her insight as a writer.

Good News/Bad News In Latest Survey Of Consumer TV Piracy
Seventy percent of U.S. respondents selected the answer "I never watch pirated movies and/or television content" in a July 10 consumer video piracy survey released by British media rights management firm Irdeto. The conspicuous exception was the 18–34 year-old demographic, with only 46 percent choosing that response. Daily consumption of illegal video in the United States was a steady 2 percent for all ages, and the 18–34 group topped weekly users at 4 percent. Summarizing the study's international findings, Irdeto Vice President for the Asia Pacific region Bengt Jonsson said, "One of the most interesting findings from our survey was that availability, poor quality, and security issues are deterrents for downloading illegal content. This is a clear message to operators to provide high-quality content at the right price."

Europe Publishes Updated Plan For IP Enforcement
On July 1 the European Commission released its action plan for intellectual property enforcement along with its strategy for cooperation on IP enforcement with countries outside the European Union. "Rather than penalizing the individual for infringing intellectual property rights, often unknowingly, the actions set out here pave the way towards a 'follow the money' approach, with the aim of depriving commercial-scale infringers of their revenue flows," said European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier. Ten actions are detailed in the Commission's Frequently Asked Questions "to develop an EU due-diligence scheme" as part of a sweeping structure to include new awareness campaigns, Green Paper consultations with stakeholders, formation of a Member State Expert Group on IP Enforcement, release of a new economic impact report every two years, and more. In contrast with previous IP action plans, the FAQ said, "For the first time it also stresses the need for all stakeholders involved in the value chain for any IP intensive product — including right-holders themselves — to apply due diligence to avoid infringements." In dealing with countries outside the EU, the "aim is to take a smarter approach" based on updated surveys and results from working groups, and coordinated with the customs action plan already in place.

Singapore Streamlines Judicial Orders To Block Infringing Websites
Singapore's Parliament approved the third reading of a copyright amendment bill on July 8 enabling rights holders to apply to the Singapore High Court for injunctions that require Internet service providers to block infringing websites. The amendment was announced earlier this year and is expected to be signed by President Tony Tan and take effect by the end of August. Currently, rights holders must issue takedown notices and follow up with ISPs to establish the service as liable before applying for a website-blocking injunction, a more time-intensive process as ISPs were not legally required to comply with takedown notices. IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore said, "We urge policymakers in other countries to look at introducing measures similar to those set to be implemented in Singapore."

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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