Digital Media in the Age of the Cloud: Event Recap as part of the Innovation in the Digital Age Series

Digital Media in the Age of the Cloud: Event Recap as part of the Innovation in the Digital Age Series

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Mon, 12/16/2013 - 1:56pm

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation hosted a panel discussion on December 3 to explore the opportunities and challenges of “Digital Media in the Age of the Cloud.” This third event of the Public Policy for Innovation in the Digital Age series featured speakers from Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc., Google, Microsoft, the Center for Intellectual Property Law at Whittier Law School, and Amplify.la. The event was attended by attorneys, programmers, entertainment professionals, students, and professors interested in the policy issues raised as the media industry adapts to cloud computing technology.

The panelists agreed that existing copyright law is generally well equipped to address the growth of cloud computing today, though also noted some areas of friction. The panelists also engaged in an interesting debate about the implications of user-uploaded content and it’s impact on the consumer experience.

Katie Oyama, Senior Policy Counsel at Google, described the cloud as a mechanism for the creation, distribution, and monetization of content, and most importantly to incentive creativity. “Professional creators are doing amazing things on the web, the middle class of creators has widened and diversified, and the cloud has given people a compelling and affordable way to create all types of content and distribute it to a wide audience,” she said.

Content PanelJule Sigall, Assistant General Counsel of IP Policy and Strategy at Microsoft, noted that copyright law can help enable, and not impede, the consumer’s experience. Cloud-computing devices, mobile phones and tablets, have become integral to the way people communicate, and the cloud system has become much more personalized over time. Dean Marks, Senior Vice President of Intellectual Property at Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., drew attention to how software creating companies and entertainment businesses can leverage the cloud to provide a more user-friendly experience for consumers. He also discussed UltraViolet, which makes it possible for multiple members of a household to get shared access to content.

The question of whether or not there had been an increase in piracy with the shift to cloud computing was also discussed. Moderator Richard Wolpert, Managing Director at Amplify.la and Venture Advisor at Accel Partners, said identifying pirated content can be a challenge to content owners because new content is continually getting put into cloud-based storage all over the world.Betsy Rosenblatt, Assistant Professor of Law and Director at the Center for Intellectual Property Law at Whittier Law School, commented that services like UltraViolet are great if the goal is content consumption. But she noted that it can be impossible to transform material in the cloud because of the restricted terms of use usually associated with cloud-based media services, and described the cloud “is a blessing and a curse in terms of incentivizing creation.”

Oyama explained that Google’s content fingerprint and filtering software can combat piracy, which has improved tremendously over the years. Every 30 days, she said, Google now receives 20 million takedown notices. The turnaround times have dropped drastically, and content usually gets removed in six hours or less.

The panelists also discussed the ongoing Aereo litigation, which Wolpert noted has “taken the DVR and cloud model one step further.” Aero is a New York City-based company that allows users to view or record live broadcast channels on internet-connected devices, circumventing traditional subscriptions and providing access to retransmitted content. Aereo is currently battling a consortium of network broadcasters that have accused Aereo of copyright infringement, though so far the company has been able to continue to offer its service. In some other parts of the country, however, courts have forced similar services to stop operating due to copyright infringement concerns.

Digitial Media in the Age of the Cloud

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Digitial Media in the Age of the Cloud