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Internet, broadband providers join Arts creators in Nashville briefing
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Former Clinton White House spokesperson Mike McCurry was among panelists this morning
Arts+Labs, a coalition of Fortune 100 firms, entertainment industry and arts organizations, debuted in Nashville today during a briefing for local media at The Hermitage Hotel.
 

The group disclosed some of its sponsors, including AT&T, Viacom, NBC Universal, Cisco, Microsoft and the Songwriters Guild of America. Spokespersons for the group declined to provide any budget information or to provide information regarding contributions from specific sponsors.

Arts+Labs Co-chair Mike McCurry, erstwhile White House spokesperson during the Clinton Administration, said the group currently has no plans to lobby or to address directly such controversial topics as "Net Neutrality," which subsumes the debate about a broadband provider's right to charge heavy users of Internet access higher fees, or to cap bandwidth usage.

However, the organization is organized as a 501(c)4 nonprofit. Despite the declaration of no intent to lobby, web research indicates that the 501(c)4 designation is the choice of nonprofits that, among other things, seek to engage in more lobbying and election-campaign-related activity than the more common 501(c)3 nonprofits are allowed to undertake.

McCurry noted that he is compensated as co-chair of the new coalition and is providing services through the firm in which he is a principal, Public Strategies Washington Inc. He is also a senior advisor to Grassroots Enterprise Inc., which supports grassroots "activist campaigns."

Asked whether the industry-weighted group would also reach out to such potential adversaries as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, McCurry indicated that was possible.

A release issued by Arts+Labs stresses the group's interest in policies and practices that further "safe and reliable" networks, protection of intellectual-property rights and the fostering of innovation. The group will also address "Net pollution," including the burden placed upon the Internet by high volumes of spam, viruses, malware and, of course, illegal peer-to-peer downloading of copyrighted materials, particularly music recordings.

In addition to McCurry, panelists during this morning's briefing included Mark McKinnon, a songwriter and campaign media adviser who has served both Republican and Democrat candidates; Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America; and, Chuck Sims, a lawyer with Proskauer Rose LLP.  [Ed.: See our related blog post here.]  ♦

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Tags: Arts+Labs, AT&T, broadband, cable, Cisco, Electronic Frontier Foundation, grassroots, Grassroots Enterprise, intellectual property, Internet, Mark McKinnon, Microsoft, Mike McCurry, Net Neutrality, P2P, politics, Proskauer Rose LLP, Public Strategies Washington, Rick Carnes, Songwriters Guild of America, telecom, Verizon


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