Industry Insider

A New Way for Musicians to Make Money on YouTube; The Internet sales tax: Why small business will suffer

Industry Spotlight

Amazon Adds 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Good Will Hunting' to Instant Video
July 10, 2013 – The Hollywood Reporter

Lady Gaga to Perform at iTunes Music Festival
July 11, 2013 – The Sun

Microsoft’s Nokia Music Mix Party Let’s Your Friends Become Virtual DJs
July 2, 2013 – Ubergizmo

A New Way for Musicians to Make Money on YouTube
July 11, 2013 – BloombergBusinessweek

New Slacker Mobile App Great for Music On the Go
July 8, 2013 – 411mania.com

Sony Entertainment Network Launches New Music Unlimited App
July 11, 2013 – PR Newswire



Politics & Policy

I. Intellectual Property Enforcement

France Scraps 'Three Strikes' Anti-Piracy Measure
Authored by Emma Woollacott on July 10, 2013 - Forbes

France has abandoned its controversial ‘three strikes’ piracy policy after deciding that it was unconstitutional.

The law, which had been passed by the previous Sarcozy government in 2009 following heavy lobbying from the entertainment industry, was known as Hadopi – the High Authority for the Diffusion of Works and the Protection of Rights on the Internet. A model for the US’ ‘Six Strikes’ policy, which went into operation in February, it allowed courts to suspend the internet access of users who had been caught infringing copyright three times. Now, though, offenders will simply face a fine of up to €1,500.

“This measure is essential, both because while it puts an end to a sanction that is totally inappropriate in today’s world, and because it illustrates the change in direction that the government has taken in the fight against pirated works on the internet,” says the Constitutional Council in a statement.

“The priority from now on is the battle against commercial piracy, that is, sites that make a profit from pirated content and make money without renumerating its creators.”

Only one man had, in fact, lost his internet access because of the law, a 43-year-old accused of illegally copying music by Rhianna, pop group Collectif Massif and the movie Heartbreaker who was last month cut off for 15 days. A further 1.6 million first warnings were sent out, and 29 cases were going through the courts.

The law was, therefore, regarded as highly inefficient, and had been criticised as overly-expensive – indeed, it cost E12 million per year to administer. The reason for abandoning it, though, is that France’s highest court, the Constitutional Council, has declared access to the internet a basic human right.
II. Online Privacy

Internet inventor Vint Cerf: No technological cure for privacy ills
Authored by David Meyer on July 9, 2013 - GigaOM 

Is there technological solution for protecting people from online surveillance? Not according to Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the internet and current Google “evangelist.”

Cerf’s dual identity made for an interesting performance at the Guardian’s Activate 2013 conference in London on Tuesday, where he faced many questions around privacy and surveillance. He initially appeared to dodge these questions — understandably, given Google’s sensitive position in the middle of the current fuss — but they kept on coming and he eventually gave a clear opinion.

The questioner wanted to know whether Cerf and his DARPA colleagues had considered the surveillance potential of stored information when they adopted the concept of state, and whether the protection of privacy required a technological or institutional solution.

Here’s what Cerf said. It is, I think, worth quoting at length:

“It has to be institutional; it also has to do with social conventions that we adopt. The reason there isn’t a technological solution is that the ability to infer information from partial information is extremely powerful — you can take information which appears to be anonymous and (extrapolate identity). It has to be a set of conventions that we adopt, either a legal framework or social conventions.

“Technology is racing ahead so quickly and we are so eager to embrace it with our mobiles and everything else that we don’t fully appreciate the side effects. When we put photos on the web and other people tag them, we create (problems) for people who just happen to be in the image. They get caught… we learned this with Street View.

“There are a lot of things that we do everyday that we think are innocent… but there are cascades of things that happen. I don’t think we’ve figured out what the right intuitive set of social conventions should be in order to protect privacy. We’re going to have to learn by making mistakes.

“This can’t be just a national issue because the internet is everywhere. The consequence of that is it causes us to confront head-on this problem of global issues, of frameworks, legal frameworks, social conventions and the like.”
III. Online Sales Tax

The Internet sales tax: Why small business will suffer
Authored by Steven R. Power on July 9, 2013 – Washington Business Journal (blog)

The Senate backed an Internet sales tax on May 6 that, if passed by the House, could harm small online retailers and the economy. Backed by President Obama, the Marketplace Fairness Act is supposed to help achieve parity between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. If the bill passes into law, only big business will benefit; shoppers and small entrepreneurs will suffer.

The MFA would allow states to require online retailers to collect sales tax whenever a purchase is made, regardless of where they are located. Today, online sellers must charge sales tax only in states where they have a physical office or warehouse.

The cost of complying with the MFA, and the added tax burden, is at the heart of the issue. Consider the retailers putting their influence behind MFA – Amazon, Wal-Mart and Target. These companies have a huge online presence, and the infrastructure to afford the extra expense and administrative nightmares of tracking tax payments in every state in which they sell.
IV. Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”)

An e-mail loophole Congress needs to close
Authored by the Editorial Board on July 10, 2013 – Washington Post

Ever since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden dropped a slew of classified documents into the public’s view, the country has reengaged in a vigorous debate about some — but not all — of the authorities the U.S. government claims to eavesdrop on electronic communications. But there is at least one loophole written into law that makes Americans vulnerable to unnecessary intrusions, is much more unsettling than a lot of the Snowden material and isn’t getting much attention.

Though the PRISM and phone metadata programs that Mr. Snowden detailed were secret, at least a court must scrutinize them. A section of law that hasn’t come up for discussion in the past few weeks, on the other hand, is arguably less protective, giving law enforcement at all levels relatively unfettered access to stored e-mail, documents in the “cloud” and other personal material.

The reason is that law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, is old, and technology has far surpassed the vision of the lawmakers who wrote and passed it in 1986. Almost no one used e-mail then, the online cloud didn’t really exist, and storing personal information for long periods of time with a third party such as Google didn’t seem to make any sense. So, the law says, if users keep e-mail on a third-party server for more than 180 days, they’ve abandoned the material and law enforcement can look at it — armed merely with a subpoena, not a warrant from a judge.


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