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New White Paper and NAB Workshop: Strategies for Secure OTT Video in a Multiscreen World March 22, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in DRM, Events, Standards, Technologies, White Papers.
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I have just released a new white paper called Strategies for Secure OTT Video in a Multiscreen World.  The paper covers the emerging world of multi-platform over-the-top (OTT) video applications and how to manage their development for maximum flexibility and cost containment in today’s world of constantly expanding devices and user expectations of “any time, any device, anywhere.”  It’s available for download here.

The key technologies that the white paper focuses on are adaptive bitrate streaming (MPEG DASH as an emerging standard) and the integration of Hollywood-approved DRM schemes with HTML5 through Common Encryption (CENC) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).

It is becoming possible to integrate DRM with browser-based apps in a way that minimizes native code and without resorting to plug-in schemes like Microsoft’s Silverlight.  Yet the HTML5 EME specification creates dependencies between browsers and DRMs, so that — at least in the near future — it will only be possible in many cases to integrate a DRM with a browser from the same vendor: for example, Google’s Widevine DRM with the Chrome browser or Microsoft PlayReady with Internet Explorer.  In other words, while the future points to consolidation around web app technologies and adaptive bitrate streaming, the DRM and browser markets will continue to be fragmented.  In other words, to be able to offer premium movie and TV content, service providers will need to support multiple DRMs for the foreseeable future.

The white paper lays out a high-level solution architecture that OTT service providers can use to take as much advantage as possible of current and emerging standards while isolating and minimizing the sources of technical complexity that are likely to persist for a while.  It calls for standardizing on adaptive bitrate streaming and app development technologies while allowing for and containing the complexities around browsers and DRMs.

Many thanks to Irdeto for commissioning this white paper.   In addition, Irdeto and I will present a workshop at the NAB trade show on Tuesday, April 14 at 1pm, at The Wynn in Las Vegas.  I’ll give a presentation that summarizes the white paper; then I’ll moderate a panel discussion with the following distinguished guests:

  • Dave Belt, Principal Architect, Time Warner Cable
  • Jean Choquette, Director of Multiplatform Video on Demand, Videotron
  • Shawn Michels, Senior Product Manager, Akamai
  • Richard Frankland, VP Americas, Irdeto

This session will include ample opportunities for Q&A, sharing of experiences and best practices, as well as a catered lunch and opportunities to network with your peers and colleagues.  Attendance at this event is strictly limited and by invitation-only to ensure the richest possible interaction among participants.  If you are interested in attending, please email Katherine.Walsh@irdeto.com by April 7th. Irdeto will even give you a ride from the Las Vegas Convention Center and back if you wish.

USPTO Public Meeting on Identifiers for Automating Content Licensing March 17, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Rights Licensing, Standards, United States.
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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is holding a public meeting on Wednesday, April 1 to gather input on how the U.S. Government can facilitate the development and use of standard content identifiers as part of the process of creating an automated licensing hub, along the lines of the Copyright Hub in the UK.

This meeting is the second one that the USPTO is holding after the publication of the “Green Paper” on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital economy by it and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in July 2013.  The first meeting, in December 2013, addressed several other topics as well as this one.

(For those of you who are wondering why the USPTO is dealing with copyright issues: the USPTO is the adviser on all intellectual property issues, including copyright, to the Executive Branch of government, i.e., the president and his cabinet.  The U.S. Copyright Office performs an analogous function for the Legislative Branch, i.e., Congress.)

The April 1 meeting will focus tightly on issues of standard identifiers for content — which ones exist today, how they are used, how they are relevant to automation of rights licensing, and so on.  It will also focus on specifics of the UK Copyright Hub and the feasibility of building a similar one here in the States.

As usual for such gatherings, all are welcome to attend, the meeting will be live-streamed, and a transcript will be available afterwards.  It’s just unfortunate that notice of the meeting was only published in the Federal Register last Friday, less than three weeks before the meeting date.  I was asked to suggest panelists on the subjects of content identifiers and content identification technology (such as fingerprinting and watermarking).  There are several experts on these topics who would undoubtedly add much value to such discussions, but many of them — located in places from LA to the UK — would be unable to travel to Washington, DC on such short notice and possibly on their own nickels.  It would be nice to get input on this very timely topic from more than just the “usual suspects” inside the Beltway.

Establishment of reliable, reasonably complete online databases of rights holder information is of vital importance for making licensing easier in an increasingly complex digital age, and it’s encouraging to see the government take an active role in determining how best to get it done and looking at working systems in other countries that are further ahead in the process.  That’s why it’s especially crucial to get as much expert input as possible at this stage.

Perhaps the USPTO can do what it did for the December 2013 meeting: reschedule it for several weeks later.  If you are interested in participating but can’t do so at such short notice (as is the case with me), then you might want to communicate this to the meeting organizers at the PTO.  Otherwise, the usual practice is to invite post-meeting comments in writing.

Announcing Copyright and Technology London 2015 March 13, 2015

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Europe, Events, UK.
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For our fourth Copyright and Technology conference in London, we will be moving up from October to June — Thursday June 18, to be precise.  The venue will be the same as in previous years: the offices of ReedSmith in the City of London, featuring floor-to-ceiling 360-degree views of greater London.  Once again I’ll be working with Music Ally to produce the event.

At this point, we are soliciting ideas for panels and keynote speakers.  What are the developments in copyright law for the digital age in the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world that would make for great discussion?  Who are the most influential people in copyright today whom you would like to see as keynote speakers — or are you one of these yourself?

We’re considering various possible topics, including these:

  • Implications of the “Blurred Lines” decision on copyright in the age of sampling and remix culture
  • The use of digital watermarking throughout the media value chain
  • Progress of the UK Copyright Hub, Linked Content Coalition, and other initiatives for centralizing copyright information online
  • Content protection technologies for browser-base over-the-top streaming video
  • Progress of graduated response schemes in France, UK, Ireland, and elsewhere

Please send me your ideas.  It’s your chance to tell us what you want to hear about and what you’d be interested in speaking on!  We intend to publish an agenda by the end of this month.

This Year’s Copyright Society Honoree to Keynote Copyright and Technology London Conference September 5, 2014

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, UK.
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A quick postscript to my previous piece about Peter Menell’s Brace Lecture for the Copyright Society of the USA: this year’s honoree is none other than Shira Perlmutter, who will be one of the keynote speakers at our Copyright and Technology London 2014 conference on October 1.

Perlmutter has been an international copyright luminary for many years.  When I first met her in 2003, she was chief IP counsel at Time Warner.  Prior to that she had posts at the U.S. Copyright Office, WIPO, the Administration of President Bill Clinton, and Catholic University as a law professor.  After Time Warner, she went on to IFPI and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where she is now.  (The USPTO advises the Executive Branch of U.S. government on all intellectual property issues, including copyright.)  She also has adjunct appointments at Oxford and the University of London.

She will be sharing keynote duties with Maria Martin-Prat, who is the chief copyright official at the European Commission and has an equally distinguished career.  The two worked together at WIPO.  They will also be on a panel in the afternoon on American copyright reform and its impact on the European scene.  I’ll be moderating that panel, which will also include the eminent American copyright litigator Andrew Bridges of Fenwick & West and the UK copyright expert Stephen Edwards of ReedSmith.

Other panels I’m particularly excited about include one on the role of ISPs in copyright enforcement, given that the UK is planning on implementing a graduated response regime that’s purely “educational,” with no punitive component as in France, South Korea, and elsewhere.  One of our panelists there is Thomas Dillon, an attorney — now at WIPO — who is one of the leading experts on graduated response programs worldwide.  We’ll also have an interesting discussion about the content protection methods that Hollywood intends to require for its latest generation of ultra-high-resolution (“4K”) content, featuring Ron Wheeler of Fox — known as one of the most stringent of the major studios on content protection.  And we’ll have a special keynote by Dominic Young, CEO of the UK Copyright Hub, to give us an update on that.

Please join us in London on October 1 – register today!

 

Rights Management (The Other Kind) Workshop – Chicago, Sept. 11 August 20, 2014

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Rights Licensing.
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I will be co-teaching a workshop in rights management for DAM (digital asset management) at the Henry Stewart DAM conference in Chicago on Thursday, September 11.  I’ll be partnering with Seth Earley, CEO of Earley & Associates.  He’s a longtime colleague of mine as well as a highly regarded expert on metadata and content management.  (This is another iteration of the workshop that Seth and I did in April in NYC.)

This isn’t about DRM.  This is about how media companies — and others who handles copyrighted material in their businesses — need to manage information about rights to content and the processes that revolve around rights, such as permissions, clearances, licensing, royalties, revenue streams, and so on.  Some large media companies have built highly complex processes, systems, and organizations to handle this, while others are still using spreadsheets and paper documents.

Rights information management has come of age over the years as a function within media companies.  It has taken a while, but it is being recognized as a revenue opportunity as well as an overhead task or a way of avoiding legal liability — not just for traditional media companies but also for ad agencies, consumer product companies, museums, performing arts venues, and many others.

The subject of our workshop is “Creating a Rights Management Roadmap for your Organization.”  We’ll be discussing real-world examples, business cases, and strategic elements of rights information management, and we’ll be getting into various aspects of how rights information management relates to digital asset management.  Attendees will be asked to bring information from their own situations, and we’ll be doing some exercises that will help attendees get a sense of what they need to do to implement workable practices for rights management.  We’ll touch on business rules, systems, processes, metadata taxonomies, and more.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Henry Stewart (a publishing organization based in the UK) has been producing the highly successful DAM conferences for many years.  I’ve seen the event grow in attendance and importance to the DAM community over the years.  Come join us!  (Use registration code EA100 for a discount.)

UPDATE: This workshop has been cancelled.

Dispatches from IDPF Digital Book 2014, Pt. 1: Wattpad June 1, 2014

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Publishing, Services, Uncategorized.
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The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), the standards body in charge of the EPUB standard for digital book publishing, puts on a conference-within-a-conference called IDPF Digital Book inside the gigantic Book Expo America in NYC each year.  Various panels and hallway buzz at this year’s event, which took place last week, showed how book publishing is developing regarding issues we address here.  I’ll cover these in three installments.

First and most remarkable is the emergence of Wattpad as the next step in the disruption of the value chain for authors’ content.  The Toronto-based company’s CEO, Allen Lau, spoke on a panel at the conference that I moderated.  Wattpad can be thought of as a successor to Scribd as “YouTube for writings.”

There are a few important differences between Scribd and Wattpad.  First, whereas Scribd had become a giant, variegated catchall for technical white papers, vendor sales collateral, court decisions, academic papers, resumes, etc., etc., along with more recently acquired content from commercial publishers, Wattpad is focused tightly on text-based “stories.”

Second, Wattpad is optimized for reading and writing on mobile devices, whereas Scribd focuses on uploads of existing documents, many of which are in  not-very-mobile-friendly PDF.  Third and most importantly, Scribd allows contributors to sell their content, either piecemeal or as part of Scribd’s increasingly popular Netflix-like subscription plan; in contrast, Wattpad has no commerce component whatsoever.

In fact, the most remarkable thing about Wattpad is that it has raised over $60 million in venture funding, almost exactly $1 million for each of the company’s current employees.  But like YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, and various others in their early days, it has no apparent revenue model — other than a recent experiment with crowdfunding a la Kickstarter or Indiegogo.  There’s no way to buy or sell content, and no advertising.

Instead, Wattpad attracts writers on the same rationales by which YouTube attracts video creators (and Huffington Post attracts bloggers, etc.): to give them exposure, either for its own sake or so that they can make money some other way.  For example, Lau touted the fact that one of its authors recently secured a movie deal for her serialized story.

Apparently Wattpad has become a vibrant home for serialized fiction, fan fiction, and stories featuring celebrities as characters (which may be a legal gray area in Canada).  It has also become a haven for unauthorized uploads of copyrighted material, although it has taken some steps to combat this through a filtering scheme developed in cooperation with some of the major trade publishers.  Wattpad has 25 million users and growing — fast.

This all makes me wonder: why isn’t everyone in the traditional publishing value chain — authors, publishers, and retailers — scared to death of Wattpad?  It strikes me as a conduit for tens of millions of dollars in VC funding to create expectations among its youthful audience that content should be free and that authors need not be paid.

There’s a qualitative difference between Wattpad and other social networking services. Copyright infringement aside, TV networks and movie studios didn’t have much to fear from YouTube in its early days  of cat videos.  Facebook and Tumblr started out as venues for youthful self-expression, but little of that was threatening to professional content creators.

In contrast, Wattpad seems to have crossed a line.  Much of the writing on Wattpad — apart from its length — directly substitutes for the material that trade publishers sell.  Wattpad started out as a platform for writers to critique each others’ work — which sounds innocuous (and useful) enough — but it’s clearly moved on to become a place where the readers vastly outnumber the writers.  (How else to explain the fact that despite the myriad usage statistics on its website, Wattpad does not disclose a number of active authors?)

In other words, Wattpad has become a sort of Pied Piper leading young writers away from the idea or expectation of doing it professionally.  Moreover, there are indications that Wattpad expects to make money from publishers looking to use it as a promotional platform for their own authors’ content, even though — unlike Scribd — it can’t be sold on the site.

By the time Wattpad burns through its massive treasure chest and really needs to convert its large and fast-growing audience into revenue from consumers, it may be too late.

Panel Lineup for Copyright and Technology London 2014 May 26, 2014

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, UK.
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I’m happy to announce the lineup of panels for Copyright and Technology London 2014, which will take place on Wednesday 1 October at the offices of ReedSmith in the City of London, produced by my good friends at Music Ally.  This is a call for proposals to chair (that’s “moderate” for Americans) and speak on panels.

As with past conferences, we will have a morning full of plenary sessions, after which we will separate into Technology and Law & Policy tracks.  Our morning session will feature a keynote address by Maria Martin-Prat, Head of Copyright Unit, Intellectual Property Directorate, Internal Market and Services, European Commission.

Here are the panels for the Technology track:

  • New Challenges and Responses to Online Piracy
    The proliferation of cyberlockers, cloud storage, and BitTorrent sites has led to new challenges for media companies looking to reduce the amount of infringing content stored online. Piracy monitoring services must keep up with new data storage and distribution schemes as well as new ways in which large-scale infringers can make content available. We’ll review some of the new challenges and responses to online piracy as well as the nature of demands on piracy monitoring services.
  • Content Protection for 4K Video
    The next frontier in digital video, known as 4K, offers four times the pixels of HD. Although movie studios are capturing content in 4K, the ecosystems for delivering it to consumers are still being defined. Along with superior viewing experiences, 4K gives Hollywood an opportunity to call for redesigned content protection schemes that remedy some of the deficiencies of existing ones. In this session, we’ll discuss Hollywood’s objectives for 4K content protection and hear about some proposed solutions and their tradeoffs.
  • Rights Expression Languages: Automating Communication of Content Rights
    The idea of machine-readable languages for expressing rights was introduced with some of the first DRM systems some time ago. But more recently, rights expression languages have found their ways into various interesting applications for conveying rights information among links in content value chains, to support commerce and licensing agreements efficiently and unambiguously. In this session, we’ll hear from organizations who are developing schemes to apply machine-readable rights expressions to digital images, news, and other forms of content.

And here are the panel session for the Law and Policy track:

  • Should Internet Service Providers Be Copyright Cops?
    Internet service providers (ISPs) are beginning to take responsibility for copyright infringement that occurs over their networks – whether voluntarily (as in the UK and USA) or by force of law (as in France and Austria). On this panel, we will discuss developments that have taken place both in courts and behind the scenes that chart the progress of the content industries in getting ISPs to take responsibility for the copyright behavior of their subscribers, and whether educational or punitive measures are necessary to reduce infringement online.
  • Ripples Across the Pond: The Influence of American Copyright Reform
    The United States has begun the long journey of reviewing and reforming its Copyright Act, which dates back to 1976.  Although opinions on how or whether to revise the law differ greatly, most agree that the law is a poor match for today’s rapid developments in digital content and services. Our panel of multi-national experts will speculate on the areas of the law that are most likely to change during the ensuing review process, and on how those changes will be likely to affect developments in law and technology in the UK, Europe, and beyond.
  • Copyright and Personal Digital Property
    Recent legal activity throughout Europe has profound reverberations concerning citizens’ rights to the data they put up online – or that is put online on their behalf.  European courts have decided that people have certain rights to have their personal information removed from online services.  Meanwhile, the European Commission is reopening debate around a Notice-and-Action scheme for removal of copyrighted material online, similar to the U.S. Notice-and-Takedown regime, which some advocates claim impinges on free speech while others claim is ineffective at curbing infringement.  Are we headed toward an online society that respects information as personal property, and if so, is this a good idea?  We’ll discuss these issues.

At this point we are accepting proposals to chair or speak on any of these panels.  Deadline is Friday, June 13.  Please email your proposal(s) with the following information:

  • Speaker’s name and full contact information
  • Panel requested
  • Chair or speaker request?
  • Description of speaker’s experience or point of view on the panel subject
  • Brief narrative bio of speaker
  • Contact info of representative, if different from speaker*

As mentioned above, the agenda is subject to change.  If you have another idea for a panel, we’d love to hear about that as well.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, we have three levels, which are described in our brochure; please ask and we’ll send you one.  The top-level Conference Sponsorship is a single opportunity that we offer on a first-come, first-served basis to work with the program chair (that’s me) to define a plenary session of interest to our audience.  Thanks in advance for your interest!

*Please note that personal confirmation from speakers themselves is required before we will put them on the program.

 

Announcing Copyright and Technology London 2014 April 25, 2014

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Europe, Events, UK, Uncategorized.
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I’m pleased to announce that our next Copyright and Technology London conference will take place on Wednesday, October 1, at the offices of ReedSmith in the City of London.  This is the same beautiful venue as our conference last October, with 360-degree floor-to-ceiling views of the city. Music Ally is producing the event.  Now in our fifth year, the mission of the Copyright and Technology conferences is to bring together a diverse group of lawyers, technologists, policymakers, and business people for education and intelligent dialog about the nexus of copyright and technology.  The London conference focuses on issues of particular interest in the UK and the rest of Europe but also offers international perspectives from the US, Australia, and beyond.

At this point, I am soliciting ideas for sessions.  What are the hot issues for people concerned with copyright in the UK, Europe, and beyond?  As in past Copyright and Technology conferences, the agenda will consist of plenary sessions with a keynote speaker in the morning, and afternoon breakouts into Technology and Law & Public Policy tracks.  Please feel free to suggest session topics that will appeal to technologists, law and government professionals, or all of the above.  Also feel free to put forward names of speakers for sessions.

We plan to have a working agenda in place by June, so please send me your session proposals by May 16.

As in the past, sponsorship opportunities are available.  Copyright and Technology London 2014 is a great opportunity to connect with top-tier decision makers from law firms, media companies, technology vendors, service providers, and government.  Please inquire if you are interested in learning more.

Rights Management (The Other Kind) Workshop, NYC, April 30 April 14, 2014

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Events, Rights Licensing.
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I will be co-teaching a workshop in rights management for DAM (digital asset management) at the Henry Stewart DAM conference in NYC on Wednesday, April 30.  I’ll be partnering with Seth Earley, CEO of Earley & Associates.  He’s a longtime colleague of mine as well as a highly regarded expert on metadata and content management.

This isn’t about DRM.  This is about how media companies — and others who handles copyrighted material in their businesses — need to manage information about rights to content and the processes that revolve around rights, such as permissions, clearances, licensing, royalties, revenue streams, and so on.  Some large media companies have built highly complex processes, systems, and organizations to handle this, while others are still using spreadsheets and paper documents.

Rights information management has come of age over the years as a function within media companies.  It has taken a while, but it is being recognized as a revenue opportunity as well as an overhead task or a way of avoiding legal liability — not just for traditional media companies but also for ad agencies, consumer product companies, museums, performing arts venues, and many others.

The subject of our workshop is “Creating a Rights Management Roadmap for your Organization.”  We’ll be discussing real-world examples, business cases, and strategic elements of rights information management, and we’ll be getting into various aspects of how rights information management relates to digital asset management.  Attendees will be asked to bring information from their own situations, and we’ll be doing some exercises that will help attendees get a sense of what they need to do to implement workable practices for rights management.  We’ll touch on business rules, systems, processes, metadata taxonomies, and more.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Henry Stewart (a publishing organization based in the UK) has been producing the highly successful DAM conferences for many years.  I’ve seen the event grow in attendance and importance to the DAM community over the years.  Come join us!

And speaking of events: I’m pleased to announce October 1 as the date for our next Copyright and Technology London event.  Details to follow.

Copyright Technology, Gangnam Style November 7, 2013

Posted by Bill Rosenblatt in Asia-Pacific, Events.
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The Samsung TV monitor wasn’t particularly large.  But the picture was so sharp that, even from several meters away, you could make out each hair of the perfectly sculpted eyebrows on the perfectly groomed K-Pop starlets performing on the MTV Korea broadcast.  The scene was a casual neighborhood restaurant in Gangnam, the upscale district of Seoul that PSY made world-famous.  The makgeolli (Korean rice wine) flowed freely, if more freely to the locals than to those of us who had flown across many timezones to get there.  We were all celebrating the successful end of ICOTEC, the International Copyright Technology Conference, which attracted 600 attendees earlier this week.

This is what happens when a government not only pays lip service to copyright but also puts its money where its mouth is.  South Korea is in the midst of a perfect storm of growth in digital media: Samsung Galaxy mobile devices everywhere; broadband Internet at speeds several times those available in the west; K-Pop idol factories churning out one international sensation after another.  The media, telecoms, and consumer electronics industries don’t agree on everything (e.g., consumer electronics companies refuse to pay copyright levies on their devices), but they largely cooperate – as their offices sit near one another in Digital Media City, a special district across town from Gangnam that emerged from a landfill site just over a decade ago.  Much of that cooperation is fostered by the government, and it has resulted in a global digital media juggernaut.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) sponsored ICOTEC, now in its third year.  It was as well organized as any private-sector conference I’ve seen, and admission was free.  The conference program had more emphasis on technology than on law compared to my own Copyright and Technology conferences in New York and London.  That’s fitting because, as I have mentioned, Korea and its Asia-Pacific neighbors produce more innovation in rights technologies (relative to their GDPs) than the traditional content-producing regions of the United States and Europe.  But now Korea is producing technological innovations not just to satisfy the distant demands of western media companies; it’s launching innovative content models and technologies to protect copyright for the benefit of its own multi-billion-dollar content.  As ICOTEC attendees could see, Korea has perhaps the most vibrant rights technologies industry of any single country in the world today.

The Korean government’s own foray into rights technology is particularly interesting:  it operates the Copyright Protection Center (CPC), part of the Korean Federation of Copyright Organizations (known as KOFOCO).  The CPC runs a piracy monitoring system called ICOP — a reverse-engineered acronym for Illegal Copyright Obstruction Program.

ICOP is analogous to private-sector piracy monitoring services such as MarkMonitor, Irdeto/BayTSP, Muso, Ayatii, and various others.  It monitors various types of online services, including P2P file-sharing sites, web portals, “web-hard” (Korea’s equivalent to “cloud storage”) services, torrent sites, and so on.  Like those piracy monitoring services, ICOP uses a combination of techniques including fingerprinting technology and analysis of metadata and information surrounding potentially infringing content on the monitored sites.

ICOP gathers data in real time and sends takedown notices to the sites, which remove the content to avoid action from Korean law enforcement. CPC claims that nearly all of the monitored sites take down the accused content when requested.  The effort also includes crackdowns on physical piracy: CPC employees armed with smartphones use specially-designed apps to photograph sellers of pirated DVDs and CDs on streets, in subway stations, etc.  The apps geo-tag the photos and send them to the CPC in real time, where the data is displayed on maps, analyzed, and passed on to law enforcement for further action.

ICOP is arguably more effective than monitoring efforts elsewhere because it’s better integrated with law enforcement.  Media companies in the west use private-sector piracy monitoring services, which provide data that copyright owners must use to generate takedown notices and initiate litigation and law enforcement actions.  The hands-off approach of western governments fosters competition among piracy monitoring services, which should theoretically lead to more effective technologies.  But the reality has been a limit on revenue opportunities that has led to market consolidation, as many piracy monitoring services have merged, been acquired by larger companies for synergies with other businesses, or just ceased operations.

In contrast, CPC gets 90% of its funding from the Korean government.  It operates on an annual budget of about US $5 Million, which works out to just 9 cents per Korean citizen; the other 10% comes from content industry trade associations.  (By comparison, HADOPI costs the French about 15 cents per citizen per year.)

ICOP’s fingerprinting technology comes from the Electronics Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), a government-funded research lab.  Although much of the system is automated, the CPC employs 110 people to monitor and report on illegal content on targeted online services.  The employees are disabled citizens who work from their homes.

(The CPC operates completely separately from Korea’s “three strikes” graduated response regime, which, like HADOPI, targets individual downloaders instead of online service operators.  Korea was actually the first country to implement graduated response.)

KOFOCO started ICOP in 2008 in response to the rapidly growing rate of piracy amid an equally rapidly growing content industry in Korea.  CPC estimates that the size of the illegal content market shrank 27.6% between 2011 and 2012 alone, and that the infringement rate dropped 14% in the same time period.

Yet the Korean government doesn’t just focus on copyright enforcement.  MCST supports what is perhaps the world’s leading effort to educate the public about copyright.  It has also expanded the scope of fair use under Korean copyright law, increased access to public-sector content, introduced more cost-efficient legal processes for small infringement claims (for settlements below roughly US $10,000), and dramatically increased the efficiency of music rights licensing.

The ICOTEC conference put all this activity on proud display for attendees and speakers from around the world.  It was a ton of very interesting information.  The K-Pop CD sampler I bought at the airport on my way back should help — as the makgeolli did — to further my understanding of a country whose impact on the global digital media scene will only get bigger and bigger.

My keynote presentation at ICOTEC 2013 is available on SlideShare.  Watch this space for links to other presentations from the conference.

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