April 13 -- Music Industry Strikes Historic Deal on Mechanical Royalty Rates
YouTube Adds Pay-Per-View Option for Live Video Producers
April 11, 2012 – PC Magazine
Cut in E-Book Pricing by Amazon Is Set to Shake Rivals
April 11, 2012 – New York Times
Top Apple iTunes movie downloads
April 11, 2012 – Miami Herald
Microsoft Plans to bring Kinect to Windows Phone 8
April 11, 2012 - Ubergizmo
Slacker Radio celebrates Lollapalooza 2012
April 11, 2012 - Android Central
Florence And The Machine - MTV Unplugged Album Review
April 12, 2012 - Contactmusic.com
Politics & Policy
I. Mechanical Royalties
Music Industry Strikes Historic Deal on Mechanical Royalty Rates
Authored by Eriq Gardner on April 11, 2012 – The Hollywood Reporter
Some of the largest trade groups in the music industry have announced in tandem an agreement that sets mechanical royalty rates on digital music going forward. The deal resolves a contentious rate proceeding at the Copyright Royalty Board over statutory license fees and creates new rates and terms for a variety of new "cutting-edge business models," including cyberlockers and subscription-based services.
The agreement, labeled "historic," was announced Wednesday by the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Music Publishers Association and the Digital Media Association.
By adding these services to the stream of mechanical royalty revenue, the industry hopes to avoid some of the controversies that have bedeviled past rate negotiations. Royalties on Internet music streaming have been a particularly contentious topic over the years, and the parties also spent quite a bit of time arguing whether statutory rates applied to new music products such as ringtones and ringbacks.
“Today’s agreement paves the way for our members to continue developing exciting new business models that satisfy consumers, create greater revenue opportunities for music creators and effectively fight piracy, the music industry’s greatest threat," said Lee Knife, executive director of the Digital Media Association.
II. Online Video Distributors & Program Access Rules
FCC wants a definition for MVPD and channel
Authored by Dave Seyler on March, 31 2012 – Radio & Television Business Report
A battle over program access between Sky Angel US and Discovery Communications over carriage of the latter’s Animal Planet basic cable offering has the FCC scratching its head. It is sure that a cable system or a satellite video service is an MVPD, but it isn’t quite as sure about Sky Angel, and that lack of clarity affects other services as well. Ever heard of Hulu or Netflix?
For the FCC, one solid definition of a channel is the 6 MHZ-wide swathe of spectrum used by a broadcast television station to deliver programming.
The word channel is also used to describe a program offering on a cable or satellite service that offers programming comparable to that which might be broadcast over a broadcast television station.
Here’s what makes cable systems and satellite services safe under the channel definition, no matter how it is interpreted. They provide the path through which the programming goes from A to B.
This is not the case for Sky Angel – it provides programming and pays program suppliers for the right to do so, but it transmits them to its subscription customers over the internet.
Since the dispute as to whether or not the Sky Angel/Discovery case has wider implications beyond the two combatants, the FCC is putting the definition question out for comment.
III. Online Privacy
Maryland becomes first state to ban employers from asking for social media passwords
Authored by Kevin Rector on April 10, 2012 - The Baltimore Sun
Moving to the forefront of social media privacy law nationwide, the Maryland General Assembly has passed legislation prohibiting employers in the state from asking current and prospective employees for their user names and passwords to websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
If Gov. Martin O'Malley signs the bill — his office said it was one of hundreds of bills it has yet to review — the bill would make Maryland the first state in the nation to set such a restriction into law. Other states are considering similar legislation, including Illinois and California.
The bill, drafted in response to a state agency's scouring the personal Facebook posts of prison guard applicants, also could be a bellwether for federal action. TwoU.S. senators — Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, both Democrats — have asked the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate the issue.
IV. U.S. Department of Commerce Report on IP
New government report on IP doesn't say what Big Content thinks it says
Authored by Timothy B. Lee on April 12, 2012 – Ars Technica
Yesterday we got an e-mail from the Motion Picture Association of America trumpeting a new Commerce Department report on the importance of "intellectual property"—patents, copyrights, and trademarks—to the United States economy. "IP-intensive industries, including movies and television, supported the jobs of 40 million American workers, or 27.7 percent of all US jobs," the MPAA wrote.
The report bills itself as an objective empirical project, measuring the impact of copyright, patent, and trademark protection on the US economy. But it isn't shy about touting the importance of these legal regimes to the US economy. "The granting and protection of intellectual property rights is vital to promoting innovation and creativity and is an essential element of our free-enterprise, market-based system," the report claims.
But is that really what the report shows? We decided to dig deeper.
Entertainment vs. software
Copyright-intensive industries account for more than five million jobs, which is nothing to sneeze at. But it's important to note where these jobs come from. Hollywood wants you to believe that movie studios are responsible for most of those jobs, but in reality they employ only 415,000 people. The sound recording industry employs a paltry 36,000 people.
This matters because while all copyright-intensive industries rely on copyright to some extent, only a few industries would benefit from draconian copyright enforcement policies like the Stop Online Piracy Act.
On the other hand, the "copyright-intensive" category also includes the "computer systems design and related services" industry, which employs almost 1.6 million people, and software publishers, which employ another 259,000. All told, the IT industry employs more than four times as many people as Hollywood and the recording industry put together—and IT firms overwhelmingly opposed SOPA.