by Rob Reid
With book sales going digital much faster than music sales did, why is the publishing industry growing, and not imploding? How threatened are publishers & labels as content creators start developing audiences directly through iTunes and Kindles? What does this mean for independent writers & musicians? And do our deranged copyright laws benefit anyone but profiteering lawyers? Rob Reid’s talk will compare the online challenges faced by publishing vs. music. Rob founded Listen.com, which created Rhapsody – the first digital music service fully licensed by every major label. Rhapsody remains one of the largest online music services, and is owned by MTV and RealNetworks. Now an author, Rob’s in the thick of another industry’s digital transformation. Rob’s book Year Zero (published by Random House this July) addresses some of these issues. In it, aliens seek to erase the ruinous fines on their vast collections of pirated American music by destroying the Earth. Parts of it are made up.
On 2010, the U.S. Copyright Group quietly targeted tens of thousands BitTorrent users for legal action in federal court in Washington DC. The defendants, who started off as unnamed "John Does", were accused of having downloaded independent films such as "Far Cry," "Steam Experiment," and "The Hurt Locker" without authorization. The organization went on to sue thousands of defendants at a time, hoping to extract quick and easy settlements. By the end of the year, U.S. Copyright Group had been joined by similar companies that sued people all over the United States for allegedly downloading porn and for reproducing newspaper articles in blogs. In less than two years, copyright trolls have sued almost 200,000 people.
Who are the copyright trolls? What should you do if you are a content owner approached by copyright trolls? What should you do if you are one of the 200,000 people being sued? And what is being done about this new and disturbing business model?
This January, 15 million people came out and had their voice heard in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP act. Major technology organizations and startups, such as Mozilla, Wordpress, and Wikipedia, took their first ever leap into engaging into technology policy issues. The Internet spoke, and for a single day was virtually unified in its opposition to these bills.
So SOPA and PIPA are dead, right? Well, not actually.
In this session, we'll discuss how we're just at the beginning of a much longer battle. We'll examine what's at stake for the future of the open internet. What could change if things turn out differently? Why should entrepreneurs, technologists, creators, and members of the internet community care? What are the real issues that could effect each and every one of us if we don't continue in the direction of a free and open internet? And why does the internet need us now?
9th–13th March 2012