Digital Freedom Campaign launches to fierce copyright industry opposition

December 2006

Record labels, music publishers, film, television

The Consumer Electronics Association and a coalition of trade groups and nonprofit groups including Public Knowledge and Media Access Project have launched a new public relations campaign to warn the public against restrictions on digital technologies. Dubbed the Digital Freedom Campaign ( the group aims to target legislative proposals and legal efforts by Hollywood studios, record labels and other content providers which they say would place unfair restrictions or impose excessive fees on digital technologies. But both the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have hit back and the RIAA said “Our position is basic: artists, songwriters, music publishers, musicians and record labels deserve to be paid when our music is downloaded and enjoyed by fans,” the ad states. “We ask that you recognize our right to make a fair return on the music we produce – our innovation.” Meanwhile, the MPAA highlighted the damage the entertainment industry suffers from DVD, illegal downloading and other piracy. However the new group said that digital music players like Apple’s iPod, the social-network and video-sharing Web sites MySpace and YouTube, and other digital technologies have brought “creative democracy” to countless consumers, artists and innovators but said that the big studios had historically battled manufacturers of revolutionary technologies, from the VCR to its digital counterpart and added that recent legislation had been unbalanced with Acts such as The Copyright Modernization Actof 2006, the PERFORM Act, the Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006 and the recording industry’s lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio all serving to protect the copyright industry, not the public. In an another news story from the USA, the MPAA has said that it had teamed up with the 52,000 strong Boys Scouts of America organization and will award a ‘copyright’ badge for Scouts who can prove an understanding of copyright law, the economic cost of piracy, explain the role of those involved in filmmaking and demonstrate the evils of illegal downloading. An independent study last year estimated that MPAA studios lose $6.1 billion to piracy every year and the US copyright industries as a whole lose $20.6 billion to piracy, downloading and counterfeiting.

The Times 28 November 2006 p44

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