Another Important Milestone in Russia in Building an Online Creative Marketplace

by Chris Marcich 12/18/2013 12:50 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Russia is an important and growing market for both its own domestic and international film and television industry with an active national creative community that supports thousands of jobs, including people who work in production, post-production, theatres, video shops and online legal services.  In 2012, Russia had the ninth largest international box office market, with $1.2 billion in ticket sales.  

The Russian government took an important step in August to bolster the copyright protection that is at heart of this industry and approved its new anti-piracy law.  This was a clear recognition of the fact that creativity, cultural content and expression are vital to any society, and if a country cannot protect the creative ideas of its people, the country loses not only the economic benefits, but the ability to market itself to the world.

In another important step forward, rights-holders and a number of user-generated-content (UGC) sites signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday, which will help both Russian and international film, television and Internet companies further develop the rapidly growing legal online marketplace.  This milestone was spearheaded by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Communications.  The MOU takes effect in early 2014 and will include a voluntary commitment to take preventative measures against piracy including a system involving fast track notice and take down of infringing content that is placed on their sites.

This important initiative highlights that responsible actors within the Internet ecosystem can take meaningful steps toward a shared, voluntary effort that will curb copyright infringement online and lead to more high-quality, legitimate choices.

We must all play by the same rules.  No one should be allowed to profit off of others’ hard work and original ideas.  It will take a shared, voluntary effort from all involved to institute better rules of the road, which will help foster creativity and innovation.  And in Russia, those responsible players who signed the MOU have shown us that this is possible. 

The Future of Entertainment – Merging Technology and Content

by John McCoskey 12/18/2013 10:46 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The close relationship between creative content companies and technology was reaffirmed during a recent Variety Dealmaker’s Breakfast when Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and Nancy Tellem, Microsoft’s President of Entertainment and Digital Media, discussed each industry’s growing reliance on the other in the digital age.  Tellum acknowledged the value movies, TV and other creative content represent to a technology company like Microsoft whose users are now utilizing their game consoles for watching content more than playing video games. And that’s why starting next year Microsoft will produce and distribute its own unique content for the 78 million Xbox consoles being used worldwide, including a project with Steven Spielberg based on the extremely popular Halo series. 

“We’re in this amazing time where these two worlds (of Hollywood and technology) are coming together,” she said.  And there is no better example of that than the smartphones and mobile devices used by millions around the world every day whose ability to access content “can be an incentive to buy something or not to buy” because audiences today want to be able to watch whatever content they want, whenever they want to watch it.

Both agreed that content creators needs to embrace technology or risk losing a younger generation of consumers who are relying more on the digital space for their content.  Fortunately, movie and TV companies are adopting an ever growing variety of methods for consumers to access their content in recent years. 

In the United States alone, there are now more than 95 online services for streaming and downloading legal content that are available to consumers like Itunes, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go and Flixster. A list of these services can be found at WhereToWatch.org.

Microsoft’s upcoming foray into the world of content creation is just the latest example of the growing interconnectedness of these two great industries as they continue “getting comfortable with each other.” And in the days ahead, the sight of leaders like Alan Horn and Nancy Tellem engaging in a conversation about the future of these two industries will become a regular occurrence as we work together to continue creating and delivering the great content that consumers around the world expect from us in new and innovative ways.

Engaging in the Multi-Stakeholder Model

by Alex Deacon 12/11/2013 14:14 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The past several months have seen a renewed, passionate and energetic debate about the importance of the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance and how vital it is to the incredible success of the Internet to date.  Having been involved in that model since the mid-1990’s, I can’t agree more.  Based on recent research from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), content creators and producers, which include the six major movie studios that the MPAA represents, added over $1 trillion in value to the US economy in 2012.  This is an amazing figure and underscores the notion that we are significant stakeholders in this debate.  Because of this, it is apparent to me, and the MPAA members, that we can and should be engaging and collaborating at a higher level in many of the multi-stakeholder organizations responsible for defining how the Internet works.  Let me describe two ways we have started to do just this.

ICANN

Several weeks ago I attended the 48th meeting of the International Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Buenos Aires.   ICANN is the organization responsible for managing the names (DNS) and numbers (IP Addresses) that make the Internet work.  While I’ve spent much of my career at both VeriSign and Neustar (both deeply involved in all things ICANN) this was my first time attending an ICANN meeting in person.  For the past 15 years, ICANN has been effectively using the multi-stakeholder process to keep up with the amazing pace of change in the Internet over the same period of time.    

A key focus for me at ICANN is the work centered around the accuracy of data associated with the WHOIS system – the protocol used to access information on who owns or has been assigned a domain name or IP Address block.   Ensuring this data is accurate is important not only to the MPAA and our members, but also to everyone who uses the Internet every day.  Without accurate WHOIS data, there can be no accountability, and without accountability it can be difficult to investigate and remedy issues when individuals or organizations use the Internet in illegal or inappropriate ways.  Within ICANN, the WHOIS Expert Working Group (EWG) has been tasked to draft recommendations for a next generation service to replace the current WHOIS system – one that ensures both accuracy and accountability.

In addition, a working group has been formed to address issues around the use and accreditation of Privacy and Proxy services.  These services enable users to register for a domain name without having to disclose personal information (such as address, email, phone number) to the Internet at large – a valuable service to many.  Ensuring these services also provide accurate and accountable information is equally important. 

IETF 

At the beginning of November, I attended the 88th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) – the organization responsible for developing and promoting Internet standards.  There is much important working happening in the IETF.  However, as it relates to the WHOIS system, the important work is happening in the IETF WEIRDS working group.  Over the years there have been several attempts to “fix” WHOIS (whois++, crisp/iris) none of which managed to get much (if any) uptake.  Despite this, I believe the work now happening in the IETF WEIRDS working group has a good chance of being impactful and successful based on its use of existing web technologies that are already well supported in all web-enabled clients.  It is the WEIRDS protocol that will be used to support and implement the next generation WHOIS system being discussed in ICANN.  

 Accurate WHOIS information makes the Internet a better place for all of us and I look forward to being a part of the process, in both ICANN and the IETF, which ensures this happens.  

For more from Alex Deacon follow him on Twitter @_AlexDeacon.

Categories: Technology

Tags:  , , ,

Yahoo Teaming with FindAnyFilm to Make it Easier to Find Legitimate Content

by Senator Chris Dodd 12/11/2013 06:23 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

When film lovers in the United Kingdom and Ireland use Yahoo’s Movie site to find out the latest news on an upcoming film, read a review of a movie that was just released or look up some information on an old favorite, they’ll notice a big change in what they see on their screens thanks to a new partnership between a tech giant and the movie industry. 

Yahoo Movies U.K. is teaming up with the online film search-engine, FindAnyFilm.com, to make it easier for users to find legitimate services for watching films – whether downloading or streaming online, or providing information on cinema showings and allowing them to easily buying tickets to the latest hits playing in theaters.

The Industry Trust for IP Awareness, originally in a partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI), created FindAnyFilm.com to serve as the UK’s most comprehensive film-watching search engine in order to show audiences where they can safely and legitimately find the movies they want in whatever format they want to watch it in – whether in the cinema; on Blu-ray, DVD, or TV; or available for download or streaming online.   The Industry Trust, created through a partnership of the movie studios, theater owners, home entertainment companies and other film organizations, now runs the site on its own.

Constantly updated with the most current information on where and how to view films (and the cost), FindAnyFilm lets users find the film they’re looking for – or get other suggestions through the site’s recommendation options – by typing in a film’s title or the names of its directors and actors, or keywords that help guide the user to a particular movie.  And for those still playing in theaters, the site provides a full list of movies available in the area by postal code and gives the option of buying tickets to the show.

This new development is the latest in a long line of successful efforts by the Industry Trust to educate viewers on the growing multitude of legitimate options that are available for viewing content today and to show them why the work of content creators needs to be respected. And we congratulate them for these steps on behalf of the creators and makers in the UK, the US and throughout the world.

While FindAnyFilm is only available in the UK and Ireland, here in the United States, the MPAA has developed a website -- Where To Watch -- which provides an array of more than 95 legitimate online sites for viewing movies and TV shows.  In addition to Where To Watch, companies throughout the country have created an ever growing number of search engines and apps to help viewers find legitimate content online including CanIStreamIt, Go Watch It, Fan.TV and Fayve among others.

These steps are part of the incredible growth of online viewing opportunities being made available through partnerships with technology companies and film and TV creators.   And this is only the beginning – in the coming months we anticipate a growing number of options throughout the sector designed to help people find the movies and television shows they want to see and learn about new, easily accessible viewing opportunities available on TV, tablets, smartphones and computers.

This post was originally posted on HuffingtonPost.com and can be read in its original format here.

New Pew/Gallup Poll Says Majority of Americans Support More International Trade

by Anissa Brennan 12/09/2013 13:17 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

There is no denying that the world we live in today is growing increasingly interconnected.  A century ago, traveling across the Atlantic Ocean meant living aboard a ship for over a week; today you can fly across it in a number of hours.  Communicating with someone on the other side of the globe meant sending letters that would take weeks to arrive; now you can Skype with a friend in real time. 

Nations everywhere have recognized our world’s growing interconnectedness and have responded by lowering trade barriers and allowing products made in one country to be imported and sold in another market, so that today the majority of countries are importing and exporting more goods than ever before.

Here in the United States alone, more than 13% of our GDP comes from the goods and services we export throughout the globe and we continue to remain the world’s largest importer of goods. 

As our leaders forge ahead on negotiating new trade agreements with nations across the globe, the good news is that, according to a new poll, conducted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pew Research Center, the overwhelming majority of Americans (77%), regardless of education or political party, believe that growing trade and business ties with other countries is good for the United States – that number is up by 24 points since 2008 when America found itself in the midst of the Great Recession.

And if that weren’t enough, two-thirds of those surveyed said that great involvement in the global economy is a good thing because it opens up new markets and opportunities for our industries to grow.  As an industry that does a tremendous amount of business overseas – international box office for 2012 was nearly $24 billion – the American film industry couldn’t agree more with that sentiment. Our industry has a positive balance of trade in every country where our products are found and accounted for more than $14 billion in American exports in 2011.

The ability to release our content and our products into global markets is what helps employ the 1.9 million American men and women whose jobs are dependent on the film and TV industry every day.  And it is why the American film industry, along with other U.S. copyright industries, accounts for nearly 6.5% of the total GDP and contributed more than $1 trillion to the economy according to a recent study conducted by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).

The success of the film and television industry’s expansion into new markets, and the ability to export our products throughout the globe has not only helped our companies, but has benefited millions of American workers. And as we continue working to find new trading opportunities with partners throughout the world it’s good to see the American people recognize the significant benefits that increased trade can bring.

 

Categories: Innovation, Trade

Tags:  , , ,

ISPs and Search Engines must play by the same rules - French court ruling in the ‘Allostreaming’ case sets a precedent

by Chris Marcich 12/04/2013 11:29 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

On 28 November, the Paris Regional Court paved the way toward a more responsible Internet by requiring greater involvement of ISPs and search engines in the fight against piracy online. The proceedings were initiated by the French theatrical distributors (FNDF), the French video distributors (SEVN) and the local producers association (APC) against ISPs to block access to the pirate streaming websites "Allostreaming.com", "AlloshowTV.com", "Alloshare.com" and "Allomovies.com", as well as search engines to stop indexing these sites.

In terms of blocking access to sites that are manifestly and substantially pirate, this case confirms the practices obtained in other EU Member States in dealing with rogue sites in a balanced and proportionate way by using procedures sanctioned by EU legislation. The unique aspect of this decision is that all major search engines active in France are ordered to effectively de-index the 16 copyright infringing sites. That is a worldwide precedent.

We have long called for more responsible involvement from search engines. For all rightholders, the decision in France reinforces what we have long known to be a fact: search engines are the gateway to the Internet and as such have a special responsibility in ensuring that consumers are led to the multitude of legal platforms and services rather than to illegal money-making sites.

Equally gratifying was the opinion issued by the Advocate General Cruz Villalon on 26 November in the kino.to case that the Austrian Supreme Court referred to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The AG states that blocking access to substantially infringing websites that refuse to legitimise their approach is a proportionate and valid measure to be implemented by ISPs. In his opinion, he also refers to the role of search engines in finding illegal content online.

All of us in the internet ecosystem share a responsibility to take meaningful steps to curb copyright infringement online. We are fully aware of our responsibility and have been working hard to develop innovative, legitimate and consumer-friendly platforms. Online options are booming and more than ever, consumers can view shows and movies when they want them, wherever they want them. The legal precedent set in France last week, reaffirms that search engines bear a responsibility, too, and must take real action to stop directing consumers to infringing sites. 


Month List