Session Details

Plenary Presentations

9:45 – 10:45 am

Keynote Address: A Perfect Storm: Technological Change and Market Power in the Entertainment Industries

For the past 100 years, the creative industries have been dominated by 3-5 major publishing houses, major record labels, and major studios, and these firms have retained their power in spite of massive shifts in how content is created, distributed, and consumed. However, today these firms face “A Perfect Storm” of change in the form of digital piracy, long tail markets, user-generated content, online platforms, and big data. In this talk, Michael Smith of Carnegie-Mellon University, co-author of Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment (MIT Press), will discuss why these factors threaten the market power of the major players, and how they can respond to this threat.

  • Michael Smith and Rahul Telang, Carnegie-Mellon University; authors of Streaming, Sharing, Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment

11:00 – noon

Research Presentation: Can Technological Copyright Protection be Effective?  Evidence from Book Publishing

Some book publishers are using a technological approach to online copyright protection that involves searching for unauthorized files online and issuing takedown notices for those files.  This is the first peer-reviewed study that measures the effectiveness on e-book sales of this approach.  Using a difference-in-differences approach, the study finds a protection-related increase in sales of e-books of more than 14 percent, with effectiveness depending on popularity, genre, and search frequency. Most of the increase is due to prevention of casual infringements rather than professional piracy.

  • Imke Reimers, Assistant Professor, Northeastern University

Afternoon Technology Track

1:15 – 2:15 pm

Never Break the Blockchain: Blockchain Technology for the Music Industry

Blockchain, the basis for the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, is a technology for secure distributed transaction processing that is finding applications in many different industries. Several startups are building solutions for digital music based on blockchain technology, which cover everything from royalty payment processing to consumer music distribution. In this fast-moving, highly interactive session, we’ll put representatives from several music/blockchain startups to the test: what problems do they solve, what new opportunities do they create, and how do they move the music industry beyond the status quo?

2:30 – 3:30 pm

Money Changes Everything: Accountability and Transparency in Music Transaction Processing

The settlement of songwriters’ recent lawsuit against Spotify resulted in the music streaming giant creating mechanisms for publishers and songwriters to submit data on rights ownership. Meanwhile, a new standards effort, the Open Music Initiative, proposes industry-wide mechanisms to ensure accountability and transparency in music royalty transaction processing. Our panelists will speculate about whether these technical capabilities will lead to new sets of expectations for administration of royalties in the future.

  • ModeratorLarry Miller, Principal, Musonomics LLC; Director, Music Business Program, NYU Steinhardt
  • Dan Harple, CEO, Context Labs; Co-Founder, Open Music Initiative
  • Chris Harrison, VP Music Business Affairs, Sirius XM
  • Randy Grimmett, CEO, Global Music Rights
  • Colin Rushing, SVP and General Counsel, SoundExchange

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Locks and Books: Whither Digital Rights Management in Book Publishing?

The book publishing industry is approaching a crossroads with respect to digital rights management (DRM) for e-books.  While new DRM solutions and open standards are being introduced, various industry segments and geographies are abandoning DRM. Which book publishers will stick with existing DRMs, which will move to new technologies, and which will give it up? Our panelists will discuss current developments and speculate on the future.

Afternoon Law and Policy Track

1:15 – 2:15 pm

Virtually Copyright: How Does Copyright Affect Virtual and Augmented Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are set to explode as vehicles for immersive experiences of all kinds, including entertainment.  Many different types of media assets go into VR and AR environments, including musical works, visual objects, and software functionality.  What are the considerations for copyright law and licensing?  Is the existing legal framework equipped to handle VR experiences, or are we in for yet another disruptive trip into the unknown?

2:30 – 3:30 pm

Circumventing the Future: The Fate of Section 1201

Section 1201 of the Copyright Act makes it a violation of copyright law to circumvent “technical protection measures” such as DRM systems.  The law is currently being reexamined on a few levels.  Earlier this year, the Copyright Office opened a public review of parts of it; the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a federal lawsuit hoping to have it found unconstitutional; and new services such as PlayOn’s cloud-based video stream recording could be said to make DRM circumvention unnecessary.  In this session, we’ll consider the future and relevance of Section 1201 for copyright owners, service providers, and consumers.

  • Moderator: Robert Levine, author, Free Ride
  • Eleanor Lackman, Partner, Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard
  • Raza Panjwani, Policy Counsel, Public Knowledge
  • Allan Adler, General Counsel & VP Government Affairs, Association of American Publishers
  • Jason Schultz, Professor of Clinical Law and Director, Technology Law & Policy Clinic, NYU Law School

4:00 – 5:00 pm

License Agreements: Art or Science?

Many legal departments of media companies maintain their own standard clauses that they require lawyers to use when drafting and negotiating agreements.  What if the entire industry used shared standard clauses and terms for license terms?  Would that promote efficiency and decrease risk?  Or would it stifle creativity and tie hands in complex negotiations?  This session will be structured as a debate — with the audience voting on the winner.