Top

The Pirate’s Dilemma

April 9, 2008

The Pirates Dilemma
This is an absolutely brilliant video.

Matt Mason, author of The Pirate’s Dilemma – How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism at the Medici Summit last month, discussing that the only useful way to compete against piracy is to adopt the pirates’ marketing strategy.

The money quote — “If throwing lawsuits at your fans becomes a core component of your business model, you no longer have a good business model. Unless you’re a lawyer.”

The Pirate’s Dilemma – How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism

Selling us our culture — that’s what they’re doing.

February 9, 2007

In the Harper’s feature “The Ecstasy of Influence“, novelist Jonathan Lethem writes a fascinating and impassioned essay on how essentially all artistic creation involves quotation — overtly or subtly, consciously or unconsciously, and that we continue down the path of ever-increasing intellectual property restriction only at the risk of killing the very culture that is ostensibly being saved.

The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors but “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate.

Contemporary copyright, trademark, and patent law is presently corrupted. The case for perpetual copyright is a denial of the essential gift-aspect of the creative act. Arguments in its favor are as un-American as those for the repeal of the estate tax.

No matter how you feel about copyright, public domain, rights management and related matters, you owe it to yourself to take a couple of minutes and read this short but rewarding article.

More Dead recording issues

December 2, 2005

Apparently things aren’t quite as rosy as they appeared yesterday in the ongoing saga of Grateful Dead recordings on the Internet Archive.

Boing Boing: Grateful Dead “reversal” on fan-recordings is a smokescreen

However, it appears that all the talk about “communications SNAFUs” was a smokescreen for a half-assed compromise that leaves the highest-quality recordings available only as streams, meaning that they can no longer be simply downloaded from the Archive and traded on.

The spin on this is bizarre — see below:

He said the band consented to making audience recordings available for download again, although live recordings made directly from concert soundboards, which are the legal property of the Grateful Dead, should only be made available for listening from now on.

What, exactly, is the Grateful Dead’s “legal property?” The media on which the recordings reside? No, those belong to the fans and/or the Internet Archive. Rather, the thing that the Grateful Dead controls is the copyrights in the performances. But they control the copyright in the non-soundboard recordings every bit as much as they control the soundboard recordings.

So much for fast learners…

The Dead – Fast Learners

December 1, 2005

Okay, my faith has been somewhat restored in The Dead — apparently they’re a lot faster learners than most of the record labels —

After the Grateful Dead angered some of its biggest fans by asking a nonprofit Web site to halt the free downloading of its concert recordings, the psychedelic jam band changed its mind Wednesday.

Internet Archive, a site that catalogues content on Web sites, reposted recordings of Grateful Dead concerts for download after the surviving members of the band decided to make them available again.

Band spokesman Dennis McNally said the group was swayed by the backlash from fans, who for decades have freely taped and traded the band’s live performances.

“The Grateful Dead remains as it always has — in favor of tape trading,” McNally said.

He said the band consented to making audience recordings available for download again, although live recordings made directly from concert soundboards, which are the legal property of the Grateful Dead, should only be made available for listening from now on.


Cool ‘nuf; everybody makes mistakes, and it’s nice to know that GDM recognizes a freight train barrelling towards them when they see one.

I’m guessing the best part of this is that a whole lot of new listeners have now been turned on to the live recordings archive.

How to destroy the world’s best fan base

November 30, 2005

Back in the day, the Grateful Dead was the top grossing act in entertainment, year in and year out. They toured 300+ days a year, playing to packed houses all over the world.

Part of their success? They didn’t treat their fans like the enemy.

You want to tape a concert? No problem. In fact, we’ll just open up as many seats as we can for tapers who want to plug into our soundboard, and tape our mix directly. We’ve spent all of this money on great audio equipment, no reason to drag your own mikes along…

You want to share and trade tapes? That’s cool — enjoy!

Going by today’s record label “logic” they should have gone broke over this. Instead, they made money hand over fist, like no other act ever has.

Time moves on.
Read more

TV Stations next to be disintermediated?

November 28, 2005

On The Long Tail, Chris Anderson has some numbers on this year’s poor stock performance on the part of the 12 public TV station owning companies.

Terry Heaton says “Broadcasting is an industry in deep trouble, and it will take innovation and integrity to save it from a real disaster.” He then shows the stock charts over the past year for the 12 publicly listed companies that own TV stations. While the number of lines going south is striking, it’s a bit hard to see them in context that way. So I’ve re-run the numbers and expressed them below in percentage terms.

The upshot is that in 12 months when the Dow has risen 4%, these companies have fallen 16.8% — not a good sign.

But not terribly surprising, either.
Read more

Hollywood Lawyers Illiterate?

May 22, 2005

Ah. Suddenly it all becomes clear — apparently entertainment industry lawyers just can’t read.

Reuters has picked up a Billboard article with a quote from a “founding member of the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers” which essentially paints Creative Commons as a “serious threat to the entertainment industry.” It then goes off on some extremely bizarre tangents which manage to completly miss the point of Creative Commons.

Fortunately, Lawrence Lessig has gently and calmly delivered them a detailed fisking in the way only he can.

The hyperbole from Mr. Sukin — a lawyer — was funny. But what struck me in the article was the assertion by Butler that “Creative Commons urges creators to give up their copyright protection” in exchange for $1. I couldn’t begin to understand what she was talking about. Obviously, our licenses enable artists to choose to waive certain rights — while retaining others. (Remember: “Some Rights Reserved”). But they are licenses of a copyright; they couldn’t function if you had “give[n] up” copyright protection. The vast majority of creators adopting Creative Commons licenses keep commercial rights, while giving away noncommercial rights (2/3ds). It’s hard to see how waiving noncommercial rights would do anything to “U.S. copyright income.”

As usual, Lessig’s entire post is a great read – be sure to check it out.

Battlestar Galactica and the Death of Networks

May 15, 2005

On Mindjack this week, Mark Pesce has an excellent article — “Piracy is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast Networks“.

The article starts out with a familiar refrain (one I’ve sang myself a number of times) — the one about how P2P distribution has been shown to actually increase conventional consumption. In this case, the example is the wildfire spread of Battlestar Galactica torrents in the three months between the series airing in the UK and the US SciFi channel premier, with an unexpected increase in viewership in the US.

Old stuff — which doesn’t make it wrong, the networks just don’t want to hear it.
Read more

Oh Bother…

January 22, 2004

It turns out that Disney is (so far) on the losing end of an intellectual property rights dispute over Winnie the Pooh.  Apparently the rights they thought they bought from the Milne heirs in 1961 were actually assigned by Milne to another party in 1930.  They potentially stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties.

Of course, they might not have had a problem if Milnes work had been allowed to go into public domain, as it would have had not Disney and other organizations lobbied hard to prevent such things from happening…

Owl, what does “Hoist by your own petard” mean?

(via Boing Boing Blog)

Read more

Oh Bother…

January 22, 2004

It turns out that Disney is (so far) on the losing end of an intellectual property rights dispute over Winnie the Pooh. Apparently the rights they thought they bought from the Milne heirs in 1961 were actually assigned by Milne to another party in 1930. They potentially stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties.

Of course, they might not have had a problem if Milnes work had been allowed to go into public domain, as it would have had not Disney and other organizations lobbied hard to prevent such things from happening…

Owl, what does “Hoist by your own petard” mean?

(via Boing Boing Blog)

Bottom