The entertainment industry is always looking for new ways to stop illegal file sharing, but a new lobby called Art + Labs is an interesting step. Why? Because the lobby is backed by players you’d expect — NBC Universal, Viacom and the Songwriters Guild of America — but it’s also backed by AT&T, Cisco Systems, and Microsoft, the NYT reports.
Basically, the pipe owners (like AT&T) and service providers are getting together to help fight file sharing with the content makers (like NBC U). But if you remember back when it was music file sharing that was under the spotlight, rather than video, the ISPs weren’t jumping to the rescue of the music biz. So why are they doing it now?
Because they value the video content more than they did the music. They want to be able to sell video either through advertising or direct sales, either via the Web (Microsoft), or via TV (AT&T’s new Uverse offering). They wouldn’t mind selling music, too, but it’s not a lucrative or core business, which means the music labels never had any real leverage — Universal Music Group had nothing to take away if the ISPs didn’t play ball. But if Disney takes ESPN or Pixar movies away from an ISP or cable system, that’s a very big deal. Expect a lot more Hollywood/distributor displays of unity in the future.
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