The Self-Defeating and Ineffectual Weaponry of Internet Gatekeepers

19 Jun in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Internet
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Nice piece up from Cory Doctorow (of BoingBoing) on the perils of trying to suppress the internet as an alternate means of distribution:

So, how do you use copyright to ensure that the future is more competitive and thus more favorable to creators and copyright industries? horsebuggy

It's pretty easy, really: Use your copyrights to lower the cost of entering the market instead of raising it.

What if the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had started out by offering MP3 licenses on fair terms to any wholesaler who wanted to open a retailer (online or offline), so that the cost of starting a Web music store was a known quantity, rather than a potentially limitless litigation quagmire?

What if the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the North American Broadcasters Association made their streams available to anyone who paid a portion of their advertising revenue (with a guaranteed minimum), allowing 10 million video-on-demand systems to spring up from every garage in the world?

What if the Authors Guild had offered to stop suing Google for notional copyright violations in exchange for Google contributing its scans to a common pool of indexable books available to all search-engines, ensuring that book search was as competitive as Web search?

The degree to which capitalist entities are in favor of competition (and to a certain extent, innovation) has always been inversely proportional to their overall market share.  In other words, the closer one gets to a monopoly, the less they stand to gain from allowing consumers to pursue alternatives.  While I don’t have the time or energy to devote to a proper historical analysis, I suspect quite strongly that the horse-drawn buggy industry put up a damn good fight against the onslaught of automobiles.

In any case, check out the full read here.

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