New industry group takes aim at 'net pollution,' piracy

Technology and entertainment heavyweights are undertaking a public relations campaign to dissuade consumers from illegal file sharing.

A group of technology and entertainment heavyweights is undertaking a public relations campaign to dissuade consumers from illegal file sharing, something the group calls "net pollution."

The group, called Arts+Labs, includes Viacom, NBC Universal and the Songwriters Guild of America, all of which have exerted legal muscle against the sharing of music and content without permission of the copyright holder. Other members include Microsoft, AT&T and Cisco Systems.

Arts+Labs also lists its aim as educating consumers about "spam, malware and computer viruses." However, the Arts+Labs' Web site mostly emphasizes the protection of intellectual property rights for content providers. Its mission in part is to steer people to Web sites where content can be legally bought or viewed.

"Arts+Labs firmly believes that most consumers agree that artists should be compensated for their work and would prefer to purchase affordable, safe and legal content rather than reward those who illegally traffic in the hard work and creativity of others," the group said.

However, Public Knowledge, a digital rights advocacy group based in Washington, DC, called Arts+Labs "a big-money front group," saying its real goal is to make operators and ISPs (Internet service providers) monitor private Internet traffic.

"Combining the power and influence of AT&T and the entertainment industry means only that both are going to wage an all-out war for the right to filter every bit of data anyone sends across the Internet," the group said.

Arts+Labs' Web site promotes a host of legal download sites, including Netflix, a legal movie download site; Veoh Networks, a video-sharing site that also has content from major content providers; Blockbuster's Movielink; Joost, Microsoft's Xbox live and many more.

Despite efforts to sue individual file sharers and shut down file-sharing networks, illegal file sharing continues to be rampant.

Popular search engines such as The Pirate Bay index torrents, or small data files that coordinate the download of content from computers across the Internet using the BitTorrent protocol. Other file-sharing networks include eDonkey.

ISPs have sought to relieve the strain on their networks by slowing down certain kinds of traffic. The entertainment industry is pushing hard for ISPs to monitor content on their networks and disconnect high-volume file sharers.

Arts+Labs is employing power lobbyists: the group is co-chaired by Mike McCurry, former press secretary to U.S. President Bill Clinton and Mark McKinnon, who has been an advisor to Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Earlier this month, McCurry resigned as co-chair of Hands Off The Internet, a group that opposes regulations mandating net neutrality.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags bit-torrentpeer-to-peerpiracy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?