Technology, Thoughts & Trinkets

Touring the digital through type

Tag: revenue streams

Ole, Intellectual Property, and Taxing Canadian ISPs

Ole, a Canadian independent record label, put forward an often-heard and much disputed proposal to enhance record label revenues: Ole wants ISPs to surveil Canada’s digital networks for copywritten works. In the record label’s filing on July 12 for the Digital Economy Consultations, entitled “Building Delivery Systems at the Expense of Content Creators,” Ole asserts that ISPs are functioning as “short circuits” and let music customers avoid purchasing music on the free market. Rather than go to the market, customers are (behaving as rational economic actors…) instead using ISP networks to download music. That music is being downloaded is an unquestionable reality, but the stance that this indicates ISP liability for customers’ actions seems to be an effort to re-frame record industries’ unwillingness to adopt contemporary business models as a matter for ISPs to now deal with. In this post, I want to briefly touch on Ole’s filing and the realities of network surveillance for network-grade content awareness in today market. I’ll be concluding by suggesting that many of the problems presently facing labels are of their own making and that we should, at best, feel pity and at worst fear what they crush in their terror throes induced by disruptive technologies.

Ole asserts that there are two key infotainment revenue streams that content providers, such as ISPs, maintain: the $150 Cable TV stream and the $50 Internet stream. Given that content providers are required to redistribute some of the $150/month to content creators (often between 0.40-0.50 cents of every dollar collected), Ole argues that ISPs should be similarly required to distribute some of the $50/month to content creators that make the Internet worth using for end-users. Unstated, but presumed, is a very 1995 understanding of both copyright and digital networks. In 1995 the American Information Infrastructure Task Force released its Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure report, wherein they wrote;

…the full potential of the NII will not be realized if the education, information and entertainment products protected by intellectual property laws are not protected effectively when disseminated via the NII…the public will not use the services available on the NII and generate the market necessary for its success unless a wide variety of works are available under equitable and reasonable terms and conditions, and the integrity of those works is assured…What will drive the NII is the content moving through it.

Of course, the assertion that if commercial content creators don’t make their works available on the Internet then the Internet will collapse is patently false.

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Follow-up: Newspapers and Business Models

digitagewebI owe this (more nuanced reflection) of yesterday’s note on the role of ‘professional’ versus ‘amateur’ news, again, to my colleague Tim Smith. After reading my post yesterday, he replied:

nice piece Chris! I have a follow up question.

is investigative journalism on the net in the spaces Simon characterized as amateur. I am thinking of reports like a Bob Woodward breaking of Watergate. A Seymour Hersh breaking of Abu Ghraib. This type of investigative reporting.

Do you see the type of investigative journalism (on political matters) coming from blogs and internet media? If not, could it come from there? It certainly requires a system of professional training (gathering and putting together information not necessarily available on the internet), resources and social capital (contacts).

Re-reading what I’d posted, I can see that these are questions that needed to be asked and responded to. Below is my response to Tim.

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The Book Industry Needs to Change! Why (most) authors and publishers need not fear online piracy

123602395 37B6De9664 OArs technica has a pretty good rebuttal to the recent piece in the London Times that offered the (seeming) common line of crap that you hear when old industries talk about peer to peer networks. You know what the line is in its general format: “Without the guarantee of making money through our tried, tired and tested revenue streams, authors will stop writing, culture with wither away AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!” (There is often a “Think of the children!” added in there for good measure.)

Now, why isn’t it likely that authors are going to flee writing like bookworms from a server farm?

(1) It’s a pain in the ass to scan a book, cover to cover. Don’t believe me? Scan a decent book and then post it for all of us at The Student Bay. I bet you give up before you get halfway through your task. And I bet that you can’t scan in Communicative Action (ISBN-10 0807015075) in a searchable PDF format! (Let’s see if this whole reverse psychology stuff really works…)

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