Sunday, December 12, 2010

Idea of the Day

source: Gerd Leonhard

As reported in the December 9th Peninsula (Doha):
Speaking before some 500 people at the Ritz-Carlton, Doha, Leonhard said the move from the pre-Internet broadcast culture to the broadband culture had changed pretty much everything, from economic models and their underlying business logic to the very definition of copyright and fair use.

He said such a shift was already in the midst of people around the world, noting that Internet content earned billions of dollars more in the US than content on television and newspapers.

He said the broadcast and print media were threatened by this trend, citing the example of Facebook, which reaches more people in the Middle East than newspapers.

"In the content industries, we are going from selling copies, whether physical or digital such as books and CDs, to selling access, such as bundled music offerings where music is included in Internet access," said Leonhard.

"Without a doubt, data is the new oil. Over four billion connected users will generate zettabytes of data, every single day, by commenting, rating, tagging, forwarding, uploading and sharing content. Every marketer, every brand, every telco and every mobile operator will want to get to this data, and be allowed to use it," he said.

He said the consumer, better known in digital media as "user", will be more powerful than ever before, and -- just like oil -- many difficult situations will arise from the use, discovery, mining and refining of data.


OBloodyHell said...

Dude, what the freakin' hell have I been saying for, what, like fifteen years, and pretty much every time the overall subject comes up...?

Forget the World Trade Organization meetings. They're an irrelevant circus.

The real theft of the future -- the emplacement of the zero-production middleman -- is occurring in the halls of WIPO, not the WTO.

As I have said on many an occasion, and will, no doubt, in many more -- The first step to understanding the future is to read John Perry Barlow's excellent 1994 Wired Essay:

The Economy of Ideas
A framework for patents and copyrights in the Digital Age.
(Everything you know about intellectual property is wrong.)

It's just as spot-on today as it was over 15 years ago...

Carl said...


I knew you'd like this. I attended Gerd's talk (my Qatar employer sponsored it). He was a bit short on actual legal concepts and on just how artists would be compensated under any new regime, but interesting nonetheless.

O Bloody Hell said...

Hey, I'm short on such, too. I can suggest several obvious mechanisms, but THIS is the area where such discussions about difficulties and ramifications needs to be applied.

But -- a rough, toss it out idea to start with:

1) Establish a blank media tax.

2) Add a general, high-level tax on bytes-in-bytes-out for anyone over a certain level of data (the idea being ISPs selling access to others -- eliminating the business and personal endpoints completely -- hence whatever company provides access (i.e., CONNECTION) to Wal-mart for their presence on the net pays the tax, not Wal-Mart.

This latter part is to keep the actual taxed entities relatively small and to operate on the gross general level and not the small-scale minutia.

Place said funds into a general slush fund.

Now, violate all existing copyright-as-control contracts. Current "owners" become the owners of the formerly copyrightable entities (have to hash out how to handle it when things have been parts-ed out to others based on medium-of-transfer, ala print rights vs. television rights, and so forth).

Now come up with a metric based on search engine hits for any subject which exists. It should also include a metric for "age" of an item, that is, if your song is 40 years old, then you should be getting a very tiny fraction of remuneration as opposed to one which is 3 years old or 3 months old.

Parcel out the slush fund to the owners of the various things per some value=metric algorithm.

After some point the payout on anything becomes insignificant, as in pennies per year. The net effect becomes equivalent to putting things into the public domain, only much more gradually and less as a phase-change.


That's HARDLY complete, and I'm sure you can find holes in it you can drive a truck through... but the point is to get such a discussion STARTED by acking that copyright-as-control
a) isn't working
b) CANNOT work.

From that point a FRESH framework for REWARDing copyright holders -- "To promote the sciences and the arts", as it was always intended -- can be formed.

This, unlike Global Warming, is a place where concensus-is-all.

If the framework doesn't work people will ignore it. So you MUST have the majority of the populace buy in on the scheme as fair and reasonable recompense for creative efforts.

And yes, this may well mean the end of the "rich fat cat" as it is quite possible that in the networked future, the agglomeration of large amounts of capital wealth in an individual won't be as easy or as possible.

Copyright-as-control has become the socialism of the internet age.

It's an idea that people just don't want to let go of, no matter how self-demonstrably unworkable it is.