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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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November 21, 2004

The Future of Digital Media

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Ernie interviews Jeff Jarvis in the first of a series on our favorite subject:

JJ: I do believe in the need for copyright. I flatter myself to think that I am a creative person; if I ever get off my butt and write that successful book or movie, then I believe my child should be able to benefit from it just as much as if I had instead bought and tilled a farm. As a media executive, that's clearly in sync with my interests. But I do believe that the industry and Congress are going overboard with such efforts as DMCA and INDUCE. Yet that's not the worst of it. They are being strategically stupid. Instead of trying so hard to find ways to keep people from consuming our products (as we used to say), wouldn't it be so much smarter -- and more lucrative -- to find ways to exploit this clear desire by the people to control and distribute our stuff? Instead of locking down a TV show so it can't be distributed, why not embed ad calls and sponsorhip pings (or subscription codes) in it so we make money every time it is copied and shipped to a friend? Then it would be in the interests of content creators to see their content distributed as widely as possible.

Comments (5) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Interesting People


1. Alexander Wehr on November 21, 2004 7:41 PM writes...

The analogy you use for this post does not fit.

A farm, in order to reap it's rewards, requires the inheritor to continue tilling it. THEY must put in actual work to gain reward from it. If they benefit from your copyright, that involves no work or creativity of their own.

Further, with a farm, or any other form of productivity for that matter, reward is directly proportional to work invested. You get lower crop yield when youre diligent about pest control and watering than when you simply spread seed and come back in a year.

Making millions off your parent's single song is ludicrously unfair in a capitalist society.

I am no greedy slob either. My intended career path will depend on the security of intellectual property, but i still believe people should be free to govern their own property, and even with the ability to share software, etc noncommercially, a proper regime of "encouragement" would go a lot further than laws which destroy people's right to tinker with their own electronics.

I recently read an article which is telling. An IP lawyer spoke of people chipping their xbox consoles thusly: "modifying other people's technology is legally dubious at best".

Let me get this straight: I spend $175 for an xbox, and i want to add capabilities to it, so i spend another $50 on a chip and $30 on tools, and they are allowed to sue me for doing this to my own property?

The machine is capable of so much more, as i currently have it configured it will play any compressed media format in existence, it can boot into linux and be used as a PC, and i can space shift games onto it to save space, wear, and more easily take it from place to place.

None of this infringes copyright, but i guess making it more capable myself prevents them from sucking another $400 out of me for a new PC, or forcing me to buy carrying cases to carry around all the games rather than just the console itself.

In all reality, i dont mind them protecting TPM's which ONLY prevent infringing activities, but the current definition of a TPM is much broader than that, and those interests who pressed for it know that if it were, they would be incapable of developing TPM's which ONLY prevent.. say.. redistribution.

Permalink to Comment

2. Alexander Wehr on November 21, 2004 8:01 PM writes...

With that out of the way....

The embedding of adverstising is an EXCELLENT IDEA, so long as it is format independent.

Placing a brand name, or individual product name as a watermark on a tv show (where the channel watermark ususally is) is the perfect most nonivasive implementation of this.

This method is already used on several channels to push new shows. It could easily be used for placement of ads. Exposure per show could be fixed, or variable, allowing multiple products to be advertised by watermark for each show.

I am VERY pissy about marketing, but so long as it wasnt too distracting, i wouldnt even mind this being in the letterbox portion of my dvd film footage.

Free applications could be ditributed to help people more effectively and easily compress the footage for distribution, and in so doing they could embed something into the metadata which allows them to noninvasively keep count of the distribution.

The advertising contracts could provide for fees to be paid based on the number of people to which the video is distributed.

The potential is enourmous, and the necessary infrastructure is already well established. Heck, with my current level of knowledge, and the expertise of my friends, i could easily launch a business within a week which would offer this type of ad placement. Mr Glickman would never agree to it though.

Permalink to Comment

3. nathan on November 22, 2004 3:46 PM writes...

That silly farm analogy was also used by Hillary Rosen here:

Invoking starving children (especially when the children are Stella McCartney) is a dead giveaway that the people on the wrong side of copyright are ideologically bankrupt.

Permalink to Comment

4. john jensen on November 23, 2004 10:40 AM writes...

i picked up on the farm analogy as well. actually, "the ways that books are not like farms" is something i've thought about recently.

as was noted above, the first difference is the expectation of life-long, multi-generational labor and commitment.

the second is inheritance tax. IANAL, but i'd expect that family farms are taxed (with perhaps a small-holding exemption), but i'd expect copyrights are not valued and taxed at the death of a creator. after all, how could they be ... the future economic value of a copyright is so much up in the air.

i guess the interesting thing is how this book-farm connection hangs around. perhaps some people want connect the two ideas in our heads ... just as some people (me;-) want to break the connection.

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5. john jensen on November 23, 2004 11:10 AM writes...

i had another thought ... this whole farm/book vein has a lot of ideas to be mined ...

but to name just one, as i understand it a greater proportion of copyrighted work is being classified as works for hire, and as such does not end up owned in any part by the creator or his children.

it is like a farm corporation talking up the value of the family farm, while buying out farms and converting small farmers into nothing more than hired hands.

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