Music industry partners with software industry group to curb piracy

The software and music industries have united in an historic partnership to fight piracy of copyrighted material in the U.S. In Canada, the Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) supports the newly formed partnership between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Business

Software Alliance (BSA) and will be developing its own position shortly.

According to Jacqueline Famulak, the new president of CAAST replacing Al Steel, the announcement came at a good time since CAAST will be meeting in January about partnership, which supports measures such as digital rights management (DRM) and technical protection measures (TPM).

“”This issue is not going away,”” she said. “”It is an issue that CAAST, the BSA and the CCFDA (the Canadian Coalition for Fair Digital Access) and all of the big players in the industry will have to deal with and we have to develop a position on.””

The U.S.-based alliance between the RIAA and the BSA issued seven principles mainly intended for consumers. The principles range from public awareness and enforcement to technical protection measures and improved dialogue.

The RIAA and BSA alliance does not want a government imposed technical protection measure, which is in stark contrast from what, the RIAA was proposing last year. In March, CDN reported that the RIAA was lobbying the U.S. government and sent a proposal to Congress, which could force system builders and resellers to install government-approved copy protection hardware devices.

News of potential U.S. government imposed sanctions caught many system builders and resellers off guard.

In an earlier interview, Michael T. Simmons, production manager for Qsystem Computers, a system builder from Carencro, La., said he was concerned about what the government-approved copy protection devices might do to the growth of legal downloading.

“”This (recording industry lobby) is going kill the Internet,”” Simmons said. “”What about new live software updates and virus protection utilities that you download freely from the Internet? The only reason companies do that is because they don’t want to send you a CD.””

Famulak confirmed that new BSA/RIAA alliance does not want the U.S. government to mandate a technological solution.

“”They want the software and music industry to develop their own technology solution and let the market play itself out. The best solution wins in the end. Consumers will only use what is easy for them. We think that is really fair. The issue in the U.S. is that they are concerned that the government will mandate it,”” she said.

In Canada, the government has not yet mandated any type of technology solution, she added.

Famulak also believes that DRM or TPM will not be that much of a concern for resellers once they understand the benefits of both systems.

“”They can’t lose on this. The way they can put TPMs on media nowadays will mean there will be an infinite number of variations. Customers will get more flexibility with their purchases,”” she said.

“”This will help customers to purchase legitimate copies of software instead of going out and buying 10 copies of Microsoft Office they can buy one CD that gives you the right to make ten copies for a minor amount more. That is a benefit and it comes from digital rights management.””

Famulak is also the manager of legal affairs at Apple Canada and a member of the CCFDA, which wants to end the media levy in Canada and is against the RIAA.

She says that her membership in both organizations work together well.

“”The CCFDA’s position is rather than levying every single person across the board used DRM or TPM systems that will allows people to pay for what they need,”” she said.

CCFDA spokesperson Brendan Howe said the organization did not have any comment at this time about the historic partnership between the BSA and RIAA. They were still examining the agreement, he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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