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Digital divide: Improving Internet access in the developing world through affordable services and diverse content

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Digital divide: Improving Internet access in the developing world through affordable services and diverse content
Source: Brookings Institution

In his latest paper, Darrell West argues that it is especially important to make progress on digital access, particularly in the cases of India and China. In these countries, an estimated 2 to 4 billion people have no Internet access, comprising over half of the world’s disconnected populace. Addressing barriers to connectivity in this part of the world will make it easier for the unconnected to use digital services, bring them into the technology era, and give them access to valuable tools for economic development and social integration.

From this research, it is clear that zero rating programs—waiving data caps for people who lack the financial resources for expensive data plans—represent effective ways to expand access by bringing impoverished people into a diverse and competitive digital world and drive demand for local content and services. These approaches help to address the affordability challenges that exist, especially in many parts of the developing world.

Policies that promote telecommunications competition help reduce access charges and thereby enable more people to use Internet services. And if people can access a wide range of digital content through multilingualism or their local languages, it will promote greater literacy and show people the social, economic, and civic benefits of Internet connectivity. With these kinds of changes, it is possible to narrow the digital divide and bring digital benefits to billions of people around the world.

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations-Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations-Movie Theaters; Movie Captioning and Audio Description
Source: Mercatus Center (George Mason University)

With this Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) the DOJ proposes amendments to Title III of the ADA concerning captioning and audio description services at movie theaters.1 Title III of the ADA applies to places of “public accommodation,” such as movie theaters, restaurants, schools, and doctors’ offices.2 These covered entities are prohibited from discriminating against any individual “on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.”3

In particular, Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations, such as movie theaters, from affording unequal or lesser service to individuals with disabilities.4 As a result, these entities must “ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently . . . because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services.”5

Copyright and the Music Marketplace

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Copyright and the Music Marketplace (PDF)
Source: U.S. Copyright Office

Few would dispute that music is culturally essential and economically important to the world we live in, but the reality is that both music creators and the innovators that support them are increasingly doing business in legal quicksand. As this report makes clear, this state of affairs neither furthers the copyright law nor befits a nation as creative as the United States.

The Copyright Office has previously highlighted the outmoded rules for the licensing of musical works and sound recordings as an area in significant need of reform. Moreover, the Office has underscored the need for a comprehensive approach to copyright review and revision generally. This is especially true in the case of music licensing—the problems in the music marketplace need to be evaluated as a whole, rather than as isolated or individual concerns of particular stakeholders.

While this view is hardly a surprising one for the U.S. Copyright Office, it is no simple matter to get one’s arms around our complex system of music licensing, or to formulate potential avenues for change. For this reason, in early 2014, the Office undertook this study—with all industry participants invited to participate—to broadly consider the existing music marketplace.

This report is the result of that effort. In addition to identifying the shortcomings of the current methods of licensing music in the United States, it offers an in‐depth analysis of the law and industry practices, as well as a series of balanced recommendations to improve the music marketplace.

All of This Has Happened Before and All of This Will Happen Again: Innovation in Copyright Licensing

February 25, 2015 Comments off

All of This Has Happened Before and All of This Will Happen Again: Innovation in Copyright Licensing
Source: Social Science Research Network

Claims that copyright licensing can substitute for fair use have a long history. This article focuses on a new cycle of the copyright licensing debate, which has brought revised arguments in favor of universal copyright licensing. First, the new arrangements offered by large copyright owners often purport to sanction the large-scale creation of derivative works, rather than mere reproductions, which were the focus of earlier blanket licensing efforts. Second, the new licenses are often free. Rather than demanding royalties as in the past, copyright owners just want a piece of the action — along with the right to claim that unlicensed uses are infringing. In a world where licenses are readily and cheaply available, the argument will go, it is unfair not to get one. This development, copyright owners hope, will combat increasingly fair use — favorable case law.

This article describes three key examples of recent innovations in licensing-like arrangements in the noncommercial or formerly noncommercial spheres — Getty Images’ new free embedding of millions of its photos, YouTube’s Content ID, and Amazon’s Kindle Worlds — and discusses how uses of works under these arrangements differ from their unlicensed alternatives in ways both subtle and profound. These differences change the nature of the communications and communities at issue, illustrating why licensing can never substitute for transformative fair use even when licenses are routinely available. Ultimately, as courts have already recognized, the mere desire of copyright owners to extract value from a market — especially when they desire to extract it from third parties rather than licensees — should not affect the scope of fair use.

UK — Copyright and creation: a case for promoting inclusive online sharing

February 25, 2015 Comments off

Copyright and creation: a case for promoting inclusive online sharing
Source: London School of Economics

The creative industries are innovating to adapt to a changing digital culture and evidence does not support claims about overall patterns of revenue reduction due to individual copyright infringement. The experiences of other countries that have implemented punitive measures against individual online copyright infringers indicate that the approach does not have the impacts claimed by some in the creative industries. A review of the UK Digital Economy Act 2010 is needed based on independent analysis of the social, cultural and political impacts of punitive copyright infringement measures against citizens, and the overall experience of the creative industries.

How to be a gamer! Exploring personal and social indicators of gamer identity

February 23, 2015 Comments off

How to be a gamer! Exploring personal and social indicators of gamer identity
Source: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Over the past decades, digital games have continued to extend their audience as they moved into the cultural mainstream. Despite this fact, however, only a portion of those who play games consider themselves a gamer. Drawing on insights from social identity theory, this study explores the factors that contribute to why people attribute a gamer identity to self or others. It does so by considering 2 sites of identity construction: the social context of players and the broader cultural milieu. Results suggest that a gamer identity is first and foremost associated with stereotypical behaviors that find their origin in a consumption logic. Friendship networks, however, provide an important environment in which a gamer identity can be performed.

And the Winner for the Most Pirated Motion Picture Is…

February 20, 2015 Comments off

And the Winner for the Most Pirated Motion Picture Is…
Source: Irdeto

Millions of people will be tuning in on February 22 to see which of their favorite films win that coveted golden statue at the 87th Academy Awards®. And while the majority of those fans have paid a premium to see these films legally, an increasing number of others chose to pirate those films instead, according to new data from Irdeto, a world leader in anti-piracy and Revenue Assurance solutions.

Irdeto monitored illegal downloads of films in the U.S. and over 200 countries worldwide from January 1 through February 14. The company revealed that the Academy Awards draws massive consumer interest outside the U.S., evidenced by a 385%1 increase in piracy worldwide for nominated films following the announcements on January 15. While Gone Girl was the early frontrunner after nominations, American Sniper took the lead and is currently the most pirated film in the world post-nomination, according to the data. This global piracy activity can be seen visually in Irdeto’s 2015 Academy Awards Piracy Heat Map.

If the awards were decided based on illegal downloads following the nomination, the category winners on Sunday would be:

  • Best Picture – American Sniper (1,389,819 downloads worldwide since Jan. 15; the top title downloaded in the U.S. as well as over 100 other countries).
  • Best Director – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman (796,697 downloads worldwide since Jan. 15; the #1 downloaded film in both Mexico and Spain).
  • Best Actress – Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl (1,252,074 downloads worldwide since Jan. 15).
  • Best Actor – Bradley Cooper, American Sniper (1,389,819 downloads worldwide since Jan. 15).
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