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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Technology and Creative Communities Unite to Fight Piracy

AT&T, Viacom, NBC Universal, Cisco, Microsoft and the songwriters Guild of America are among the founding members of a organization that will encourage the development of legal content in the internet.

The new grour, caled "Arts+Labs", is a collaboration between creators and technology companies 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. Because quality content drives the Internet, Arts+Labs also aims to ensure that artists and creators can safely share their works through new online distribution channels with confidence that their right to earn fair compensation for their creativity is respected.

A key element of the Arts+Labs mission is to inform and educate consumers about the availability and vast array of legal, safe and affordable content on the Internet. The group will also raise awareness of the growing problem of net pollution - which includes viruses, malware, hack attacks, spam, illegal file trafficking and other activity that threatens to degrade consumers' Internet experience.

Arts+Labs is co-chaired by Mike McCurry, former White House press secretary to President Bill Clinton (1995-1998) and public policy spokesperson and Mark McKinnon, a former songwriter and newspaper editor. Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriter's Guild of America, and Chuck Sims, of the law firm Proskauer Rose also have agreed to join Arts+Labs as the first members of the group's Advisory Board.

"Arts+Labs believes that quality content drives the Internet and that distribution of easily accessible, affordable content in the Internet age requires new business models," said Arts+Labs co-chair Mark McKinnon. "We also strongly feel that every effort should be made to ensure that artists benefit from their creativity. Arts+Labs will work to ensure that consumers know where to access safe and legal online content while promoting artists' and innovators' ability to easily share their ingenuity through a range of new, online distribution channels with the confidence that their legal rights will be respected."

Co-chair Mike McCurry emphasized that consumers are the biggest beneficiaries in the Arts+Labs' vision.

"We want consumers to have exponentially greater opportunities to access creative content in a variety of formats, and with confidence that they are safe from viruses, hackers, malware, illegal file trafficking and other net pollution that puts them at risk," McCurry said.

Beginning from New York City, the Arts+Labs team is setting out on a three-city media tour to raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges that the Internet presents for consumers, artists, and the technology community alike.

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