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 Oct. 12 Congress passed long-pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. The following day President Barack Obama hosted Korea's President Lee Myung-bak for a whirlwind schedule of events, which drew the comment "the carpet does not get any redder than that" from The New York Times. The Entertainment Industry Coalition For Free Trade spelled out the creative community's many reasons to celebrate the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement last December, and the MPAA and RIAA thanked Congress for passing the three agreements. Similar to the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that Korea and the United States signed on Oct. 1 that is now awaiting ratification, these agreements promise a harmonized international environment for intellectual property protection and enforcement. Korea's entertainment marketplace presents a less predictable road ahead, filled with cultural and commercial opportunities, particularly for digital media distribution. In addition to being one of the world's most wired nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development last December named Korea "the leading country for wireless broadband subscriptions, with 89.8 per 100 inhabitants." Free trade enables the marketplace to create surprising winners and losers, but confidence seems warranted that U.S. entertainment's bottom line will come out ahead thanks to Korea. On the cultural side, it will be interesting to see what new flavors develop.
In letters mailed during the week of Oct. 7, the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus asked the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau to disclose details regarding their antipiracy efforts and to refrain from placing ads on infringing websites. IAB General Counsel Mike Zaneis told Cnet News that his organization was preparing a response, but also added, "It's difficult to police all of this on a real-time basis when you're talking about millions of websites." This past June, ad agency parent company GroupM launched a strict antipiracy policy, beginning with a blacklist containing 2,000 prohibited domain names. Hopefully others will follow its lead and start to tackle this daunting challenge with best efforts.
On Oct. 12 Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowksi announced an array of new broadband adoption and digital literacy initiatives, combining public, private and nonprofit efforts. With initial support from the Knight Foundation, the One Economy Corporation will manage a new umbrella organization, Connect 2 Compete, to help integrate these many efforts. Its partners include Best Buy, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, CareerBuilder, Common Sense Media, Discovery Channel, Microsoft, Monster, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and Sesame Street, among others. Genachowski's vision of the challenge focuses on the disconnect between 100 million Americans who lack home Internet service and the 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies that only post their job openings online. There are also many employment categories in which there are as many job openings as applicants, and basic digital literacy training at home or in a library could equip millions of people with the skills they need to compete for these jobs. "We need to ensure that all of our population has at least those skills required for participation in our digital economy," said Genachowski.
After the FCC's Net neutrality rules were published in the Federal Register last month, many plaintiffs promptly sued the agency with a range of complaints including the regulations being too restrictive and not restrictive enough. These have all been consolidated before the U.S. Court of Appeals — D.C. Circuit, a venue selected randomly. Plaintiff Verizon is pleased and the FCC is unhappy that this is the same court that last year struck down the agency's claim it could regulate Comcast's selective data-throttling practices based on the FCC having "ancillary jurisdiction."
On Oct. 7 British Internet service providers BT and TalkTalk were granted leave to appeal their previously unsuccessful challenges to the Digital Economy Act. The UK's plans to send out warning letters to consumers accused of copyright infringement must now be further delayed until after the ISPs' appeal is resolved.
British think tank Demos released the report "Risky Business" on Oct. 10 at a media event led by UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. The research-intensive report argues creative industries fall victim to a myth of being especially high-risk, which deters investors but is not reflected by a particularly high rate of business failure, especially compared to other risky businesses such as hotels and restaurants. The implications for quantitative treatment of the intellectual property-based economy are profound, especially with regard to government policy efforts.
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