Saturday, June 14, 2008

copyright copyfight

In light of Thursday’s tabling of amendments to Canada’s Copyright Act (which you can read about here), I offer two opinions on the thorny issue of copyright in the digital age.

From “Bits, Bands and Books” in the New York Times:

In 1994, Esther Dyson, made a striking prediction: that the ease with which digital content can be copied and disseminated would eventually force businesses to sell the results of creative activity cheaply, or even give it away. Whatever the product — software, books, music, movies — the cost of creation would have to be recouped indirectly: businesses would have to “distribute intellectual property free in order to sell services and relationships.”

From “The Tyranny of Copyright?” in the New York Times:
One of the central ideas of the Copy Left is that the Internet has been a catalyst for re-engaging with the culture – for interacting with the things we read and watch and listen to, as opposed to just sitting back and absorbing them. This vision of how culture works stands in contrast to what the Copy Left calls the “broadcast model” – the arrangement in which a small group of content producers disseminate their creations (television, movies, music) through controlled routes (cable, theaters, radio-TV stations) to passive consumers. Yochai Benkler, a law professor at Yale, argues that people want to be more engaged in their culture, despite the broadcast technology, like television, that he says has narcotized us. “People are users,” he says. “They are producers, storytellers, consumers, interactors – complex, varied beings, not just people who go to the store, buy a packaged good off the shelf and consume.”

1 comment:

Unapologetic Ex-Winnipegger said...

I think we are seeing disintermediation in the entertainment industry - artists are no longer beholden to record companies in order to get national/international exposure. The big money for the artist is in the touring - this does not bode well for the major label - an artist could theoretically sell their wares for WAY less than their label would and still get more than they would for per-unit royalties. All this without having to go through the pains of a Prince or George Michael.

As with the printing press before the digital age, the levers of power are shifting and some people aren't comfortable with that.

Ditto for the newspapers, radio/tv stations and other broadcasters. With some blogs/podcasts rivalling the reach of some pretty big mainstream networks, they are doubtless worried too.