Archive for December, 2008

RIAA Declared Peace!

December 21, 2008

Finally the RIAA got it. It will stop suing against individual filesharerers (see the Wall Street Journal). As Lawrence Lessig said: This is important progress.

But is the copyright war over? Not yet, there are still a lot of problems to fix.

For all of you who haven`t read the latest book of Lawrence “REMIX” yet, here his latest great talk about his ideas on copyright issues in the digital age.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Freesouls by Joi Ito

December 15, 2008


Great present for Christmas?
A wonderful book by Joi Ito – Freesouls. A celebration of all the people who are willing to share. The book is beautifully designed and contains 296 Portraits by Joi Ito and essays by Howard Rheingold, Lawrence Liang, Cory Doctorow, Yochai Benkler, Isaac Mao and Marko Ahtisaari and a foreword by Lawrence Lessig.

State of the Mediasphere – Monaco Media Forum

December 10, 2008

Three weeks ago at the Monaco Media Forum Jeffrey Cole (USC Annenberg School for Communication, Director of the Center for the Digital Future) had an worth watching talk at about the state of the mediasphere. He summarized quite well the status quo of the media industry in the digital age and gave a small insight in his research, where he tries to figure out why there is only a small willingness to pay for digital content.
The average American household spent 260 Dollars per month on communication services that didn´t exist a generation ago. He thinks people are not willing to pay more on top of this and sees that as an argument for advertising as the future business model, which enables “feels like free” content. But that´s not the only reason why he sees the future in advertising, but also cause of the high potential of personalized online advertising, that will be more effective than advertising was ever before.

Another worth watching video of the Monaco Media Forum is the panel “The Revolution Will Be Streamed” with Henrique de Castro (Google), Nancy Cruickshank (VideoJug), Dina Kaplan (, Mike Volpi (Joos) and Dan Scheinman (Cisco Media Solution) moderated by Jack Myers. A very interesting discussion about the status quo in the web video industry and the potenial of the online video market especially in the area of advertising.

Striking the Balance between Giving It Away and Making Money

December 6, 2008

By accident I found these two posts from Michel Bauwens and Steve Bosserman on the challenge of striking the critical balance between giving something away (for free) and making money in a digital age. They deliver the thesis that the “Internet Economy” is redefining operational assumptions and models for all organizations within the public and privat sectors and that the transformation does not stop in the realm of bits and bytes; it is spilling into the traditional mainstays of agriculture and all types of industry and threatens to alter the most basic tenets of how to market, value, and receive compensation for our creativity, collaboration, and contribution. Steve Bosserman shows this descriptive on an example from the agriculture industry.

“When information is free, it is a great equalizer. This equalizing feature is changing the business models of corporations that made their fortunes from a portfolio of proprietary offerings.”

So the authors are trying to answer the basic question: where is money made in such an environment?

Both posts are argumenting along a very basic diagram that shows the general options for a business model:


I don´t want to repost the articles here, just want to highlight the most important insight for me:

The classic business model of the analog age (paid & closed, in the diagram up,right.)  that we are all familiar with and which relies on state-protected intellectual rights monopolies, is obviously the model that is being most undermined by free information. But the point is that, as the other three business model options become more established in the society,  it is not just hackers and consumers that threaten such a business model, but your own competitors. In any sector, there will always be a pioneering company that decides to give the primary commodity for free, or gives away the source code, deriving income from secondary modalities, leaving the traditional closed rights holders in the cold, and making this model unsustainable in the long run.
So let´s start thinking about the other three options.

Go legal and die!

December 2, 2008


The year 2008 is nearly over and we are still having a situation on the digital music market that cause entrepreneurs like Michael Robertson (CEO of MP3tunes) to write articles with headlines like: Legal digital music is commercial suicide – Fans suffer as lawyers get rich (Article for The Register).

Still record labels or copyright holders (collecting societies) are torpedoing successful music services with big financial requests from labels for “past infringement”, plus a hefty fee for future usage.
Michael Robertson´s comment: “Any company agreeing to these demands is signing their own financial death sentence.”

But Robertson is not only accusing the record industry:
The root cause is not the labels – chances are if you were running a label you would make the same demands, since the law permits it. The lack of clarity in the law is the real culprit – and it’s the huge potential penalties that create an incentive for the big record labels’ law firms to file lawsuits. Without clear laws and rulings from the court about what is permissible, every action touching a copyrighted work is a possible infringement, with a large financial windfall if the copyright owner can persuade a Judge to agree.

The problem is that changing the copyright law will need many more years – (Creative Commons and Lawrence Lessig are unfortunately no superheros) – … so the market has to be faster… has to find a solution… has to create an environment, where innovative business models can be develop without the fear of being sued the rest of your life. Why is there no chance to negotiate a true partnership between net companies and the content/copyright industry, where going legal is a real option for a start up, where both sides get the ability to create a profitable business?