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.
On July 28 in a case brought by the MPAA, the UK's High Court ordered British Internet service provider BT to prevent its subscribers from accessing Newzbin2, an encrypted Usenet website that knowingly allowed its users to engage in copyright infringement. This is the first determination by a British court that ISPs can be compelled to block an infringing site. The judgment read, "The studios have made it clear that this is a test case: if they are successful in obtaining an order against BT, then they intend to seek similar orders against all the other significant ISPs in the UK." In a statement BT responded, "It clearly shows that rights holders need to prove their claims and convince a judge to make a court order. BT has consistently said that rights holders need to take this route." Looking forward, an MPAA blog post emphasized the need for cooperation between content owners and ISPs. Next up in this landmark case, the parties will work with the court later this year to determine the exact language of the order.
Eight songwriters and music publishers sued the company behind music-sharing service Grooveshark for copyright infringement in a Tennessee U.S. District Court on July 15. The company previously settled an EMI lawsuit, is currently litigating a Universal Music Group lawsuit, and has had its app booted from both the Android Market and the iTunes App Store as a result of pressure from labels. On a brighter note for the company, it had a vendor booth at the July 13 opening of the Federal Communications Commission's Technology Experience Center. Paul Geller, Grooveshark senior vice president of business development and government affairs, said, "This modest contribution illustrates our commitment to the FCC in helping them make thoughtful regulations that inspire innovation and promote freedom on the Internet."
On July 11 the Future of Music Coalition announced that the online survey phase of its Artist Revenue Streams research project will launch on Sept. 6. Members of the music community are also invited to participate in interviews and financial data reviews before the end of the year, and can sign up to receive email notifications of upcoming announcements. This research is the culmination of years of effort, as evidenced by FMC's 2009 definition of 29 artist revenue streams. Former Executive Director of SoundExchange and Recording Academy Washington, D.C. Chapter Governor John Simson, who is working on the FMC project, said, "In the past 10 years we've seen a significant shift in the way that consumers access music. As the methods of revenue generation shift, it is important that we collect this survey data to show policymakers how our industry is affected. Current performance royalty policies must fairly compensate creators and put more money back in the pockets of musicians and composers."
Several announcements on July 26 updated the growing popularity of video-sharing sites such as YouTube. Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project estimated that 71 percent of U.S. online adults now use video sites every month. Allot Communications estimated that video streams account for 39 percent of mobile data, most of it from YouTube. As for the many sources at the root of all this traffic, YouTube has prepared a report showcasing 20 of the 20,000 participants in its YouTube Partner Program. The announcement said, "Hundreds of people are making six-figure incomes on the site, enabling them to hire editors and producers and create even more original content."
Coca-Cola announced on July 26 that it is investing in Music Dealers' music licensing business, trading worldwide marketing exposure for a growing stake in the crowdsourced custom-music community of 10,000 musicians. Emmanuel Seuge, Coca-Cola's group director, worldwide sports and entertainment marketing, said, "We are excited about the opportunities that come from partnering...with an innovative and game-changing start up and the potential ripple effect that can come of it. Especially for the thousands of emerging artists around the world who are looking for a global platform to launch their music."
On July 25 open-source non-profit Mozilla — creators of the Firefox Web browser — announced plans to develop a new mobile operating system called Boot To Gecko built on several basic elements of Google's Android operating system. The project's developers said, "We want to...find the gaps that keep Web developers from being able to build apps that are, in every way, the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android and [Windows Phone 7].... We aren't trying to have these native-grade apps just run on Firefox, we're trying to have them run on the Web."