by Andrew Keen
The Internet is increasingly portrayed as an instrument of consumer power, giving them enormous rights in terms of accessing content, mostly for free, often illegally. But have we inadvertently created a "cult of the consumer" in which the rights of a professional creative class have been disregarded? If the Internet is to mature as a viable media platform for paid content, do we need to calibrate our values and assumptions so that the rights of professional creators are held in as much regard as the rights of consumers?
As media giants wage a piracy war, “infringement” is not the real issue, but rather “predictability” as to what makes a digital content delivery business model lawful. Indeed, the recent Viacom v. Google decision is on many levels a conflicting retread of the Grokster ruling, making it more apparent than ever that courts have failed to provide consistent parameters. To truly make digital content delivery a viable industry in the long run (for content creators and new marketplace entrants), a coherent framework governing how third party content may be exploited must be devised. In other words, digital content delivery players need clear and reliable guidelines to assess whether their business model is permissible or not.
This panel will deconstruct the latest line of cases in order to outline the framework upon which new business models can be built. To do so, panelists will look at the Grokster and Viacom cases, and compare them to other decisions that could impact the structure of any such business model.
The panel will examine what constitutes the “inducement” of copyright infringement, and will parse out still uncertain areas of the law from those that are well established. Based upon those preliminary conclusions, panelists will establish basic principles upon which any new business model needs to be built while looking forward to new technological development.
The debate surrounding music piracy versus the so-called collapse of the music industry has largely been bipolar, and yet so many other processes of music distribution have been developing. From online “sharity” communities that digitize obscure vinyl never released in digital format (a network of cultural preservation, one could argue), all the way to netlabels that could not care less about making money out of their releases, as well as “grime” networks made up of bedroom musicians constantly remixing each other, there is a vast wealth of possibilities driving music in the digital world. This panel will present key examples emerging from this “grey area”, and discuss future scenarios for music production and consumption that stand proudly outside the bipolar box.
11th–15th March 2011