In recent news ...
BMI To Pandora: Music Publishers Are Still All In For Now
On Nov. 4 The Hollywood Reporter revealed that BMI informed Pandora that there is no news concerning "imminent publisher withdrawal at the end of 2014." This issue was raised in a rate court filing by Pandora, and stems from a rate court decision in December 2013 that ruled music publishers must be either "all in or all out" when licensing their catalogs through performance rights organizations. Music publishers have made strides in the digital organization of their catalogs, improving their ability to take on PRO duties for themselves so that "all out" could be a viable future option. When Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow testified before the House Judiciary Committee in June, BMI testified alongside him, arguing that an all-or-nothing mandate is overregulation under the "archaic restrictions" of the consent decree structure, and "threatens the entire licensing ecosystem that BMI services."
Notice-And-Takedown Working Group Shows Progress
The fifth public meeting of the Department of Commerce's Internet Policy Task Force multistakeholder forum on DMCA notice-and-takedown was held Oct. 28. A discussion draft, webcast and transcript are now available. This work has been pursued under the department's "Copyright Policy, Creativity, And Innovation In The Digital Economy" efforts to update policy that began in summer 2013. Notably, the takedown group's first meeting was March 20, three days after GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy New York Chapter Board member Maria Schneider spoke on behalf of The Recording Academy to the House Judiciary Committee about her struggles as an independent artist who is both frustrated by and expert at operating the notice-and-takedown process (see Schneider's Advocate Spotlight interview at GRAMMYPro.com). Suitably, helping the process evolve so that it works for individuals and small businesses has been squarely within the scope of the working group's efforts. This is a gradual process, but the depth of detail now available about practices both good and bad is unprecedented. The plan to develop some standardized elements and recommended practices has a solid foundation in place as the working group looks forward to its sixth public meeting to be held Dec. 18.
Pirate Bay Co-Founder, Silk Road 2.0 Operator Arrested
On Nov. 3 Thai immigration police arrested Fredrik Neij, the last of the Pirate Bay's co-founders and convicted copyright infringers to have eluded capture. Neij's Pirate Bay co-founders are currently serving prison time. Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was first apprehended in Cambodia in 2012. Having now served his Pirate Bay jail time, on Oct. 31 Warg was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison by a Denmark court for crimes involving computer hacking. Peter Sunde was arrested in May in Sweden. The Pirate Bay remains one of the world's most popular rogue Internet sites as authorities continue to try to halt its operation, and Neij's arrest closes one chapter of this continuing drama. Separately, on Nov. 6 U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara announced the arrest of Blake Benthall for operating Silk Road 2.0's notorious Internet marketplace since December 2013. Silk Road was taken down by authorities in October 2013 and its copycat site sprang up a month later, accepting Bitcoin payments and using the Tor anonymity network to protect users' identities while they trafficked illegal narcotics, fake IDs and computer hacking support over the Internet. "Those looking to follow in the footsteps of alleged cybercriminals should understand that we will return as many times as necessary to shut down noxious online criminal bazaars," said Bharara.
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. To learn more, visit GRAMMY.org/Advocacy. To get more involved, visit GRAMMY.com/Action.