Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Copyrights Under Scrutiny

The recent non-vote on new anti-piracy legislation has touched a nerve helped in large part by some of the most visible sites on the internet flexing their muscle.  The RIAA was given space in the New York Times to express their views and that piece has generated hundreds of responses, including one of our own.

The general tone of the comments reflects the shifting sentiments regarding how creative works are distributed and consumed, and who should pay.

Mechanisms like Bitmenu are designed to exchange payment for content delivery to any device via any service.  We think creative artists and rights-holders will make their money embracing creative packaging for their fans.  Many casual fans might share a piece of the package but a healthy audience will seek out and pay for the authentic product in all its richness.

Our comment on the New York Times piece, What Wikipedia Won't Tell You:

The old saying was: "Never pick a fight with someone who buys his ink by the barrel". It meant that those who controlled the means of production held all power. In media, all rights to copy works went to them.

Times haven't changed that much. Who creates the copy of a web page, movie or song for each user? It's not the author of the page or the musician or filmmaker. It is the site that automatically delivers content, ads, social graph elements and everything else, all neatly packaged for whatever device the user is viewing at the time.

In this scenario, the creative work is the site itself, and the content is merely useful as a mechanism to draw an audience that is of interest to advertisers, who pay for the privilege of being included in the dynamics of the page generation process.

Artists and rights-holders who wish to derive some benefit beyond considering "piracy as the next radio" as suggested by Neil Young would be well served to establish easy to use mechanisms for users to purchase and consume their works.

UPDATE:  The New Yorker has published a humorous look at the issue.