- Viacom, NBCU and Others Form 'Advocacy Group' Arts+Labs With Songwriters Guild

Matt Kapko
Thursday, September 25, 2008; 5:07 AM

To add to the confusion about industry consortiums, another new advocacy group called Arts+Labs has been formed by heavyweights in the entertainment, technology and telecom spaces to lobby for enhanced content on secure and reliable networks, fair compensation for content creators and to steer consumers away from spyware and spam. Viacom, NBC Universal, the Songwriters Guild of America, Cisco Systems, *AT&T and Microsoft* are all part of the new organization that bills itself as "a collaboration between creators and innovators who regard the internet as a vibrant town center where all consumers can safely choose from a vast array of digital products, entertainment and services", essentially a tech meet Hollywood kind of consortium. Missions include consumer awareness of "legal, safe, affordable and innovative entertainment content on the internet" and of "net pollution, which includes viruses, malware, hack attacks, spam, illegal file trafficking and other activity that threatens to degrade consumers' internet experience."

Of course, net management is a central issue, although underplayed for now. Then again have all of these companies and organizations been fully behind the concept of the web not tilting in favor of one application, technology or thought over another? Web-filtering technology is another area the group is expected to work on intently. The group will be co-chaired by Mike McCurry, former White House press security under President Bill Clinton, and Mark McKinnon, a former songwriter and newspaper editor better known as a campaign adviser to Sen. John McCain and President George Bush. Release.

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