Archive for the 'copyright' Category

Lawrence Lessig on The Colbert Report

January 14, 2009

Very funny Video!

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Go legal and die!

December 2, 2008

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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?

Predicting the Digital Age 14 Years Ago

October 27, 2008

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Yesterday I read an amazing WIRED article! Well…  great magazine…. but this one was from 1995. Remember how computers and mobile phones looked in 1995?
The article is about a new way of looking at compensation for owners and creators in the net-based economy. The author, Esther Dyson, predicted in her article all the problems the media industry will be confronted with in more than ten years time cause of digitalisation. She wrote about all the challenges for owners, creators, sellers and users of intellectual property. About the fact that quality content will be free, easy to copy but hard to find. And she made suggestions how content creators can find ways to be paid. The article could have been written last year … and still it would be a great one.

I had never heard about this article before… (sure, I had heard about Esther)
It`s quite a long article … I just wanted to quote a few of the best parts:

“In a new environment, such as the gravity field of the moon, laws of physics play out differently. On the Net, there is an equivalent change in “gravity” brought about by the ease of information transfer. We are entering a new economic environment – as different as the moon is from the earth – where a new set of physical rules will govern what intellectual property means, how opportunities are created from it, who prospers, and who loses.
Chief among the new rules is that “content is free.” While not all content will be free, the new economic dynamic will operate as if it were. In the world of the Net, content (including software) will serve as advertising for services such as support, aggregation, filtering, assembly and integration of content modules, or training of customers in their use.”

(…)

“I am not saying that content is worthless, or that you will always get it for free. Content providers should manage their businesses as if it were free, and then figure out how to set up relationships or develop ancillary products and services that cover the costs of developing content. (…) The way to become a leading content provider may be to start by giving your content away. This “generosity” isn’t a moral decision: it’s a business strategy.”

(…)

“The definition of the problem, rather than its solution, will be the scarce resource in the future.”

(…)

Owning the intellectual property is like owning land: you need to keep investing in it again and again to get a payoff; you can’t simply sit back and collect rent. To some, this state of affairs may seem unfair. It certainly is if you grew up by the old rules and don’t want to play in a new game. But if you look at the new rules by themselves, they have a certain moral grounding: people will be rewarded for personal effort – process and services – rather than for mere ownership of assets.”

(…)

“So, what happens in a world where software is basically free? Successful companies are adopting business models in which they are rewarded for services rather than for code. Developers who create software are rewarded for showing users how to use it, for installing systems, for developing customer-specific applications. The real value created by most software companies lies in their distribution networks, trained user bases, and brand names – not in their code.”

(…)

“With the means of production growing cheaper and easier because of the Net, a bifurcation will take place: more and more people will produce material for smaller audiences of their friends, while those seeking large audiences will give their stuff away or seek payment from a sponsor – and try to persuade influencers to recommend it.
In the end, the only unfungible, unreplicable value in the new economy will be people’s presence, time, and attention; to sell that presence, time, and attention out-side their own community, creators will have to give away content for free.”

This was all written 13 years ago!!!

What is Creative Commons?

October 18, 2008

I mentioned in my last post, about the new book of Lawrence Lessig, the copyright organization/system Creative Commons. For the few who still not know what Creative Commons is and how it works… below a great video.

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Lawrence Lessig Remixed

October 16, 2008

The new book of Lawrence Lessig titled Remix is released in the US today.
Lawrence just had a great article in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. And once again he outlines as simple as it is, that copyright law and the new changing culture in the digital age are still not on the same “level”. He clarifies that there must be something wrong when Universal is suing a mother of a 13 month old kid, cause of a copyright infringement on her YouTube video.

He depicts that it`s not even a problem of commensurability, like in the case above, but also a big problem for the creative culture.

We are in the middle of something of a war here — what some call “the copyright wars”; what the late Jack Valenti called his own “terrorist war,” where the “terrorists” are apparently our kids. (…) Peer-to-peer file sharing is the enemy in the “copyright wars.” Kids “stealing” stuff with a computer is the target. The war is not about new forms of creativity, not about artists making new art.
Yet every war has its collateral damage. These creators are this war’s collateral damage. The extreme of regulation that copyright law has become makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, for a wide range of creativity that any free society — if it thought about it for just a second — would allow to exist, legally.

That`s what he was trying to solve when he founded Creative Commons

Copyright law must be changed. In the article, Lawrence makes five great suggestions for changes that would make a world of difference. Read them in detail in his WSJ article.

If you want to get a short overview what he has written about in his book… watch his talk at TED:

Joost Goes Browser

September 18, 2008

Today Joost released a browser version of it`s p2p service (just a plug-in download is needed). Next month, according to CEO Mike Volpi to TechChrunch, Joost will offer a version of the service that doesn’t require any download at all.

In addition to the browser version, they created a video based social network complete with Facebook-style activity streams that show your friends what content you are watching and gives you the chance of commenting or “shouting” about the program (Watch the Demo Video of TechCrunch below.).

TV is and always has been a “social experience” and so I think there is big potential in these features. Imagine watching a soccer game with all your mates… even when you are in a hotel on the other side of the world…

So Joost goes a little bit in the direction of what Last.Fm does for music….  integrating “social” components… there is only a good recommendation system missing … maybe coming soon … and of course, the biggest problem of all,  the “big blockbuster” content is missing. Last.Fm made it cause they lived in the “grey” area of copyright usage… Joost is in the green area… and there is no chance to compete… it’s too expensive to finance great video content with full copyrights … we will see…

But anyway, I think this model is a very interesting perspective for the television industry…

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Videosurf – Video Search Engine

September 10, 2008

Google is after this for quite a time. Now there is this start up Videosurf and did it first. Just saw this presentation on TechChrunch50 as live stream. It sounds awesome… searching videos without meta tags… it recognizes images, people, things…. If this really works… wow.  The site is not up yet…

You can see the presentation here.

This new technology can be a big thing in all this “copyright” discussion… finding illegal content… but also it will help to get more people to use more and more video content on the IP protocoll …
If this works… great service.

The Piracy Paradox

July 22, 2008

Maybe some of you have heard about it… or already have read the paper… one more interesting argument in the never ending discussion about piracy…

There is a global industry that produces a huge variety of creative goods in markets larger than those for movies, books or music and does so without strong copyright protection. Competition, innovation, and investment, however, remain vibrant. That industry is fashion.

We all know the fashion industry is one of the most creative and innovative industries out there. So fashion firms show precisely the opposite behavior of that predicted by the standard theory of copyrights, which predict extensive copying will destroy the incentive for new innovation.

So why, when major content industries have increasingly powerful copyright protections for their products, does fashion design remain mostly unprotected – and economically successful?

This paradox is analyzed by Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman in the article named: “THE PIRACY PARADOX: INNOVATION AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN FASHION DESIGN” in the Virgina Law Review.

They argue that the fashion industry counter-intuitively operates within a low-copyright equilibrium in which copying does not deter innovation and may actually promote it. The paper offers a model explaining how the fashion industry’s piracy paradox works, and how copying functions as an important element of and perhaps even a necessary predicate to the industry’s swift cycle of innovation.

The paper is quite long (92 pages), but you don`t have to read the whole paper to get the message. Piracy is an issue an industry can deal with under some circumstances…

At a conference of The New Yorker (May 2008 ) Kal Raustiala talked with Scott Hemphill and James Surowiecki about the effect pirated goods have on the fashion industry. See the video here or download the podcast on itunes.

No Hands Up

December 22, 2007

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“You want a movie or an album. You don’t want to pay for it. So you download it. Who thinks that might be wrong?”

Great short article from David Pogue in the NYTimes describing an experience of changing consumer behavior on copyright infringements during different of his speeches on copyright. Nice anecdote!

And I fully agree with him:

“I do know, though, that the TV, movie and record companies’ problems have only just begun. Right now, the customers who can’t even *see* why file sharing might be wrong are still young. But 10, 20, 30 years from now, that crowd will be *everybody*. What will happen then?”

There definitely is a big generational divide in copyright morality. We have to face it.

Bad boys … anyway that`s the reality.

November 25, 2007

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Ok it`s sad, but it`s still a fact: There is still no chance to protect your copyrights in the “worldwide” web. Here the Allofmp3.com (now with new name: mp3sparks.com) for movies is coming: ZML.com.
The site sells hundreds of blockbusters with no license for round about 2$ or 3$ each. We are not talking about “sharing” … it is selling!
And the lawyers can`t shut it down.