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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?
The invention of the printing press transformed society by breaking up elite strangleholds on entertainment and information. But governments and corporations figured out how to tame the next wave of media—TV & radio. How can the Internet fulfill its true revolutionary promise and avoid being co-opted again by the economic and political establishment? By uniting with the book, the last medium to accomplish that. Average time spent per user on books is hours, lifetime revenue per author approaches one thousand dollars. But they're damn idiosyncratic and sampling them is hell, so current technology and business models favor lowest common denominators to maximize advertising revenue. By combining the Internet's capacity to power creation and consumption with the book's capacity to get deeper inside the human mind and identity than any other medium, the Internet can balance its dependence on corporate advertising with the economics of individual choice.
Journalism's future hinges on one thing, and it's not content, readers or devices. It's money. Producing stories, no matter what the form, takes money, and now journalists and media entrepreneurs alike must figure out how to make a product that serves the public and meets the bottom line. Our collection of editors, designers and entrepreneurs will talk about getting past any misgivings about the business side of journalism, and thinking creatively about products, events and partnerships off news.
9th–13th March 2012