ArtsWatch: White House Updates IP Enforcement Plan

2013 Joint Strategic Plan blends wide scope with focus on details to protect U.S. creativity
June 24, 2013 -- 10:06 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Federal Plans To Protect IP Include Important Voluntary Pacts
On June 20 U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel released the White House's 2013 Joint Strategic Plan On Intellectual Property Enforcement, containing a sweeping agenda filled with separate action items and intriguing new directions. Featured in the plan's many "Going forward" sections are new directions that include possible development of advisory groups, formation of an "interagency working group to help identify new and innovative [enforcement] technologies," improving support for small businesses' IP efforts abroad, and encouraging other countries to emulate U.S. private-sector voluntary practices to combat infringement. Praising the plan, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman called attention to "the continuing prominence of rogue websites in the first page of [search] results" as evidence of the need for further progress. He also highlighted the announcement at the National Music Publishers' Association annual meeting on June 12 of "an important new [RIAA/NMPA] initiative to expedite and ease micro-licensing for a variety of ancillary uses of music." In related news, on June 20 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a Request For Public Comments in the Federal Register "to assist in the evaluation of whether such voluntary initiatives help to reduce infringement." The deadline for comment is July 22.

Internet Society Outlines Its Dealbreakers For Copyright Revision
The Internet Society published a policy paper on June 14 outlining its perceived "minimum standards" for intellectual property on the Internet. In some ways, the document seeks to dictate a new approach to national lawmaking based on practices only common to the telecommunications technology community. In other ways, it's a sincere olive branch proposing a framework national lawmakers could adopt so that online IP will rest on a foundation of "viable and sustainable solutions," logically rigorous rules and principles the world could depend on going forward. Following that logic, the paper notes, "One key point the Internet Society would like to stress at the outset is the view that intellectual property discussions are unequivocally part of the wider Internet governance structure." Arguably, this sweeping statement only applies to intellectual property on the Internet. While the authors attempt to discuss contentious policy battles without inflaming conflict, they also clarify the terms they might use to argue whether IP enforcement efforts are trying to "break the Internet." Will it be feasible for content creators not to cross this line in the digital sand?

Cloud DRM Takes A Hit As Microsoft Xbox One Reverses Policy
On June 19 Microsoft announced a retreat from its ambitious plans to manage user permissions through the cloud for its upcoming Xbox One gaming console, which would enable a next-generation flexibility for game sharing in exchange for a minimum of daily supervision. The traditions of disc-based gaming and the market for used games apparently formed such a strong paradigm in consumers' minds that Sony PlayStation 4 made social media mincemeat of Microsoft's plans. Although Microsoft has stepped back from its Digital Rights Management position for disc-based gaming, its intended new approach suggests that Internet-based products will continue to push the DRM envelope.

Cloud DRM Takes Another Hit As Adobe Creative Cloud Is Quickly Cracked
Launched on June 17 and cracked by June 20, Adobe's efforts to change its Creative Suite media software entirely into its Creative Cloud subscription service got a black eye last week. While it is too soon to assess the long-term impact of widely circulated hacks of leading Adobe software titles, the popular perception that DRM security is futile has been reinforced. From a business standpoint, the reality is not so bleak since cloud DRM introduces the potential for today's cracks to fail tomorrow. Meanwhile, the law-abiding customer base remains independent of this ongoing battle where online security must continuously evolve.

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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