ArtsWatch: The Web's Sweet Music And Bitter Pill

The latest look at 500 legal music services and the massive shutdown of illegal drug sites
October 15, 2012 -- 7:13 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Legit Music Sites Cover The Globe
On Oct. 11 IFPI announced the relaunch of the online Pro-Music guide, featuring 500 authorized Internet music services in more than 100 countries around the world. IFPI CEO Frances Moore said, "When Pro-Music first launched in 2003, digital was a small part of our sector and limited to a small handful of countries — today it is the beating heart of our business across the world." In 2003 Apple's iTunes was new, Pro-Music listed only 20 European services and consumers had 200,000 music tracks to choose from. Last year the music industry's digital revenues amounted to $5 billion, one-third of its global business, and the services in Pro-Music's directory offered a total of 26 million music tracks. In addition to its interactive world map that encourages the browsing of services divided into three business models — download sales, subscription fees and advertising-driven models — the site provides helpful educational guides and links about music and copyright law.

Thousands Of International Counterfeit Drug Websites Shut Down
Interpol and 100 countries conducted their fifth annual crackdown on illegal online pharmacies from Sept. 25 through Oct. 2, dubbed "Operation Pangea V." The Department of Justice and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement participated under the designation "Project Bitter Pill," which included the seizure of 686 website domains as part of the multiyear Operation In Our Sites. Pangea V's international tally included 79 arrests, the seizure of 3.7 million doses of counterfeit medicine, and a total of 18,000 websites taken down. For the first time, Pangea included support from the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies, an association of leading Internet and online payment companies, including MasterCard and Visa. Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said, "It is thanks to the coordinated efforts of all agencies involved — police, customs, health regulatory authorities and the private sector — that we have seen the most significant results since Pangea I was first launched five years ago."

Kim Dotcom Fails To Escape Notice
On Oct. 5 a Virginia U.S. District Court rejected defendants Megaupload and Kim Dotcom's motion to dismiss their U.S. criminal copyright infringement case, arguing that it should be thrown out on procedural grounds because prosecutors failed to properly serve them with notice. However, the court considered such an "extreme" solution unnecessary and recognized that the former media locker website had been playing hard to get. District Judge Liam O'Grady said, "It is doubtful that Congress would stamp with approval a procedural rule permitting a corporate defendant to intentionally violate the laws of this country, yet evade the jurisdiction of United States' courts by purposefully failing to establish an address here."

Book-Scanning Universities Win Major Fair-Use Ruling
The Southern District of New York's U.S. District Court issued an opinion on Oct. 10 in the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust lawsuit, ruling on seven motions and closing the case based on a finding that the defendants' copying is protected by fair use. Hathitrust is a digital book repository started by the University of Michigan that aggregates university libraries' digital copies of books scanned by Google's massive library scanning project. Other participating universities are Cornell University, Indiana University, University of California, and University of Wisconsin, all of which claimed that their uses of the digital books are for searchability, access for the blind and preservation. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. described the defendants as having provided an "invaluable contribution to the progress of science and cultivation of the arts." Consumer advocates Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge welcomed the decision. The Authors Guild is considering how to proceed together with co-plaintiffs that represent foreign authors. "We disagree with nearly every aspect of the court's ruling," said the guild.

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.

Click on the "ArtsWatch" tag for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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