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News Release
February 24, 2004
CONTACT: David Fish
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Markets and Property Rights = More Digital Content
Aspen Panel Discussion Adds Perspective to Recent CD Sales News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Text of press release here. News of the up-tick in CD sales may be a blip or a trend. Either way, many in the content industry suggest more content is on the way, as long as piracy can be quelled so online markets can continue to develop. Adding perspective to the good news, The Progress & Freedom Foundation released a transcript of a discussion featuring content industry leaders and U.S. Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters.

Taking part in last summer’s Aspen Summit, were Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association, Shira Perlmutter, VP and counsel to Time Warner, Jerry Pierce, SVP of technology at Universal Pictures, Jim Ramo, CEO of Movielink and John Rose, EVP of EMI Group. The following are highlights of “The Digital Content Marketplace: Prospects & Challenges For Online Distribution”: Lowenstein: “Those who would suggest this is all about the failure of content industries to create viable business models to meet consumer demand and that’s why we have a peer to peer piracy problem, that’s nonsense. This is in large part a behavioral problem and a cultural problem.” Perlmutter: “[The sector is] making tremendous progress on the business model front. New offerings are available today and coming up on the horizon very quickly. There are a lot of interesting collaborative efforts…[The] prerequisite for the continuation and success of these efforts is an adequate legal and policy framework…” Peters: “Let me make it clear – the Copyright Office, based on principle is opposed to compulsory licenses…a compulsory license is a last resort in a dysfunctional market.” Pierce: “We will enable new capabilities in exchange for some help with piracy…The devices that enable piracy are the same devices that offer us new product opportunities and new business opportunities. The home server, the back channel, the new digital delivery pipes that are unfolding can be a new opportunity. Piracy can help us identify new consumer trends. We can provide a carrot and stick approach to controlling piracy.” Ramo: “We have an advantage on the movie side…pirates download far fewer movie files because it takes so long…But as the broadband footprint approaches 100 percent of total television households, broadband offers the potential to deliver all movies ever made at any time to all people…It will take a fully robust and developed Internet to cover the back end encoding costs and the legal costs to get the rights to fully exploit this medium” Rose: “[I]f a consumer buys a piece of music, they ought to be able to use it for their own personal enjoyment any way they want, as long as they don’t set up a little mini-manufacturing plant… These rules of ownership should apply regardless of how the consumer acquired the music.”

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation