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March 2018
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Datagran Declares Ad and Media Agencies Are Obsolete. They may actually have a point.

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Datagran stakes $17,000 in Cryptocurrency and Prizes on its Claim that No One Can Deliver a More Effective Marketing Campaign Than Datagran’s Platform Today, Datagran, a company that claims to be reinventing the digital advertising model worldwide through a combination of artificial intelligence and human ingenuity, announced its further expansion into the U.S. market via […]The post Datagran Declares Ad and Media Agencies Are Obsolete. They may actually have a point. appeared first on Adotas.

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Mar-2018
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Analysis Finds TISA's Benefits Are 'Insignificant', Points Out That Costs Of Deregulation Are Completely Ignored

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Back in 2014, Techdirt first wrote about TISA, the Trade in Services Agreement, another massive international trade deal that was being negotiated behind closed doors with no public scrutiny. Its central aim was to establish a common regulatory framework for services globally. But in doing so, it would circumscribe the ability of governments to bring in their own national laws, since many options would be forbidden by the agreement. For key areas, then, TISA would impose globally-agreed standards for services, with little freedom to diverge, whatever the local populace or democratically-elected politicians might think or want.During 21 rounds of talks, good progress was made on agreeing what should be in TISA, and it seemed that a final text was quite near. But with the election of Donald Trump, everything went quiet, as TISA negotiators waited to find out what his views on the deal would be. Since then, not much has happened, although TISA's supporters are doubtless hoping that negotiations can be picked up again at some point.As part of its participation in TISA, the European Commission is obliged to undertake a trade sustainability impact assessment of the likely effects. In this case, the analysis was carried out by the Dutch consultancy ECORYS and the London-based CEPR, both familiar names in this context. The final report was submitted in July 2017, which has given others a chance to examine what benefits the EU expects TISA to bring with it, and the assumptions that lie behind those predictions. The Chamber of Labour, Vienna, commissioned the Austrian Foundation for Development Research (OFSE in German) to produce a report on the report, and this has now been published. Drawing on the sustainability impact assessment's own predictions, the OFSE underlines that TISA is really pretty pointless from an economic point of view:

The economic effects of TiSA according to the SIA study are positive, but insignificant: The economic effects reported are miniscule and do not make for a convincing casefor concluding TiSA. EU GDP is expected to increase by 0.1%, exports by 0.2%.
For the US, the figures are 0% for GDP and 0.6% -- in other words, exports rise slightly, but for no overall economic benefit. The average increase for all 23 participating countries is 0.05% for GDP and 0.4% for exports. As the report puts it: "This magnitude of effects is close to statistical insignificance."These figures taken from the report commissioned by the EU are likely to err on the side of optimism in order to support the European Commission's view that TISA is a Good Thing. But as the Austrian Foundation for Development Research points out, there is a huge flaw in the published analysis. The figures quoted above are the predicted benefits to flow from bringing regulatory systems into alignment. That is typically achieved not by levelling standards up, which would be an acceptable way of accomplishing harmonization, but by levelling down through the removal of stricter regulations. As the OFSE explain:
the benefits of regulation accrue to society at large, insofar as they help to forestall harm from society, for instance by restricting the use of toxic chemicals, or directly confer a benefit, e.g. by increasing the quality of a product or service. Typically, the positive externalities generated by regulation greatly exceed their economic cost. These insights notwithstanding, the empirical trade literature has considered the cost side of regulation only, by conceptualizing regulation as a non-tariff barrier to trade.
As with other trade deals, such as TPP and TTIP, regulations are seen in a purely negative light, as costs borne by businesses, which should be removed for that reason. No account is taken of the fact that they have important benefits for the public -- for example, in terms of protecting their health, and the environment. The Austrian Foundation for Development Research rightly notes that the costs of deregulation must be included alongside the economic benefits in order to arrive at a fair picture of whether trade deals like TISA are worth pursuing. The organization also makes some suggestions for improving TISA and other future trade deals:
Include legal remedies for safeguarding the public interest in EU trade agreements that (i) maintain the right to withdraw commitments in cases of extreme changes in economic conditions, e.g. during a severe economic crisis, or a change in collective preferences due to democratically legitimate regime changes; (ii) reserve the right to impose trade sanctions, e.g. withdrawal of liberalization commitments, for severe breaches of internationally agreed standards and fundamental rights, e.g. with respect to [International Labour Organization] Core Labor Standards or international environmental agreements; and (iii) facilitate access to legal remedies for affected communities and individuals in partner countries, e.g. in cases where the economic activities of EU companies or local companies de-facto controlled by EU companies are in breach of international law or EU legislation.
Although some may see these ideas as evidence that the OFSE espouses a particular political viewpoint, which is probably true, it's larger point about the need to include all the costs and benefits when assessing whether to proceed with TISA is inarguable. No responsible management about to embark on a course of action in a company -- no matter how small -- would consider only the benefits of doing so, without examining the costs and the risks too. Given the far greater economic and social impact of globe-spanning trade deals, the same balanced approach must surely apply to TISA and any future trade agreements.Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Mar-2018
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MPAA Opposes Several Filmmaker Associations Request For Expanded Circumvention Exemptions

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Over the past few weeks, we've mentioned in a couple of posts that the Copyright Office is currently taking public commentary for changes to the DMCA's anti-circumvention exemptions provisions. While we've thus far limited our posts to the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment's bid to have those exemptions extended to preserving online video games and the ESA's nonsensical rebuttal, that isn't the only request for expanded exemptions being logged. A group of filmmaker associations put in a request last year for anti-circumvention exemptions to be extended to filmmakers so that they can break the DRM on Blu-ray films in order to make use of clips in new works. At issue is the fact that these filmmakers are able to make use of clips in these new works thanks to fair use but cannot readily get at them due to the DRM on the films themselves.

This is confusing and creates uncertainty, according to the International Documentary Association, Kartemquin Films, Independent Filmmaker Project, University of Film and Video Association, and several other organizations. Late last year they penned a submission to the Copyright Office, which is currently considering updates to the exemptions, where they argued that all filmmakers should be allowed by break DRM and rip Blu-rays. The documentary exemptions have been in place for years now and haven’t harmed rightsholders in any way, they said.“There is no reason this would change if the ‘documentary’ limitation were removed. All filmmakers regularly need access to footage on DVDs and without an exemption to DVDs, many non-infringing uses simply cannot be made,” the groups noted.
So, there are several groups that lobby for documentarians going to bat for the larger filmmaking world, having seen just how beneficial the exemptions they enjoy have been to the documentary craft. Frankly, it's nice to see associations such as these not simply staying in their own lane and instead advocating for their larger craft as a whole. Unlike, say, the MPAA which leapt to respond with claims of how awful all of this would be.
A group of “joint creators and copyright owners” which includes Hollywood’s MPAA, the RIAA, and ESA informs the Copyright Office that such an exemption is too broad and a threat to the interests of the major movie studios.The MPAA and the other groups point out that the exemption could be used by filmmakers to avoid paying licensing fees, which can be quite expensive.
Which, of course, is precisely the point of these exemptions. An end-around of fair use by locking up content behind DRM in order to extract licensing fees from those that legally would otherwise not have to pay them is a special kind of perversion of the DMCA. Not to mention copyright law as a whole, actually. Recall that the entire purpose of copyright law in America is to promote the creation of more works for public consumption. What the MPAA is arguing is that these exemptions, which would do much to promote new work, should be cast aside in favor of a system in which those new works live at the pleasure of the licensing schemes of the major movie studios. Unlike the group petitioning for the exemptions, the MPAA isn't even bothering to hide who's interests it cares about.
If the filmmakers don’t have enough budget to license a video, they should look for alternatives. Simply taking it without paying would hurt the bottom line of movie studios, the filing suggests.“Many filmmakers work licensing fees into their budgets. There is clearly a market for licensing footage from motion pictures, and it is clear that unlicensed uses harm that market.“MPAA members actively exploit the market for licensing film clips for these types of uses. Each year, MPAA member companies license, collectively, thousands of clips for use in a variety of works,” the group writes.The Copyright Office has limited the exemption to the documentary genre for a good reason, the creators argue, since non-documentaries are less likely to warrant a finding of fair use.
Except, thanks to the silliness of reserving fair use as an affirmative defense rather than a clearly defined statute, whether a use qualifies as fair use or not is a question to be answered after the use, not before. And that question isn't a valid reason to lock up content behind DRM from filmmakers that could make fair use of it.The MPAA goes on to suggest that if the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress were to allow these exemptions, it would lead to "widespread hacking" that would ultimately defeat the DRM in Blu-ray discs entirely. Limiting the exemption to documentaries has kept this from happening because the documentary market is smaller. None of that, however, serves as a true copyright argument and instead is, again, all about the licensing fees Hollywood is able to extract by locking up content on discs behind DRM.It is nice of the MPAA to lay its loyalties bare for all to see, however -- major movie studios and nobody else, it seems.

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Mar-2018
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