ArtsWatch: Preserving Our Heritage And Copyright

Library of Congress preservation efforts featured in new list of recordings and House testimony
April 07, 2014 -- 6:52 am PDT
By Philip Merrill /

In recent news ...

Recording Registry Reaches 400 Titles But Preservation Efforts Face Challenges
On April 2 the Library of Congress announced the 25 audio recordings selected for the 2013 National Recording Registry, including GRAMMY-winning albums The Joshua Tree by U2, the original cast recording of "Sweeney Todd," Vaughn Meader's comedy classic The First Family, and Creedence Clearwater Revival's GRAMMY Hall of Fame-inducted classic "Fortunate Son." Selections are determined with advice from the public and from the National Recording Preservation Board, of which The Recording Academy is a member. The latest set brings the registry to 400 recordings that receive special preservation attention at the Library's Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va. Also on April 2 the chief of the Packard Campus Gregory Lukow testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet at a hearing on "Preservation And Reuse Of Copyrighted Works" as part of the subcommittee's ongoing review of copyright law. "Legal impediments to broadened access have created daunting challenges for the national preservation effort," said Lukow. The panel included The Authors Guild's general counsel, Columbia University's university librarian, and other experts expressing the tension between creators' need for credit and remuneration with institutions' drive to provide public access to our cultural heritage. With 3.5 million audio recordings in its growing collection, Lukow described the Packard Campus' holdings as "the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings." Modernized copyright law should help both artists and archivists achieve their goals, but it is easier to phrase the goal than to revise the statutes.

Move To Revise Internet Governance Starts With Domain Name System
The House Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing April 2 titled "Ensuring The Security, Stability, Resilience, And Freedom Of The Global Internet." The topic became urgent with the Department of Commerce's March 14 announcement that it would proceed with privatizing the Internet's domain name system, as originally planned. On March 27 H.R. 4342, the DOTCOM Act was introduced by House Republicans to postpone this transition until a study of the issues is completed. Five of the bill's six original co-sponsors serve on the communications and technology subcommittee. Sentiments were surprisingly unanimous and bipartisan regarding the goal, the plan to achieve it, and the need for caution when making permanent changes to how the Internet is run. Also on April 2, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 4367, the Internet Stewardship Act, to require explicit congressional authorization before the Department of Commerce relinquishes its current Internet stewardship responsibilities. The House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet has scheduled a hearing on this same topic for April 10. The United States' position is that governments should not be in charge of Internet governance. Commenting on the Department of Commerce's initial announcement, RIAA Executive Vice President of International Neil Turkewitz said, "The transition decision has produced an outpouring of comments about the state of the Net that should be welcomed and fully explored." Privatizing the domain name system is likely to be a multiyear transition.

UK's Operation Creative Releases Official Infringing Website List
On March 31 London's Police Intellectual Crime Unit launched its first official Infringing Website List to discourage major brands from advertising on listed websites. This is the next step in Operation Creative, following its initial pilot phase last year. Having participated in the pilot, Banco Santander head of digital Andy Muddimer said, "We are pleased that the IWL is now available. This simple-to-use online resource provides welcome reassurance, which we would urge all online advertisers to pass on to the agencies they employ to serve their ads."

Three Major-Label Lawsuits Filed In Russia Against VKontakte
IFPI coordinated three infringement lawsuits brought against Russian social network vKontakte on April 3 in Saint Petersburg & Leningradsky Region Arbitration Court. Regional recording industry association National Federation of the Music Industry helped to bring the suits on behalf of Sony Music Russia, Universal Music Russia and Warner Music UK. NFMI CEO Leonid Agronov said, "This is an action which can benefit the whole music industry in Russia, and an opportunity to improve the business environment for those who depend on copyright and other rights for their livelihood." Plaintiffs are only seeking $1.4 million in financial damages and the lawsuits' primary goal is to cause vKontakte to implement effective antipiracy tools such as audio fingerprinting.

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 @ and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

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