Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Copyright will kill economies

Charlene Li has returned to the Viacom/Google battle over copyright. It builds on her earlier comments and broader analysis including this extract:

In the end, the Internet works because it can be indexed automatically. This is what makes Google work -- it's what makes everything from RSS to Technorati work. Those indexes drive traffic. The original owners of that content need the traffic. They just don't want to give up all their rights.
But it is transparency that is the key here. If organisations are not transparent, they loose competitive advantage and if they do not facilitate transparency they loose visibility.

The actualitie of copyright is that it is broke.

The rights over intellectual properties are important in only a few instances largely to do with protecting the weak and innocent and nothing to do with patents, process and tacit knowledge.

Herceptin needs Nice If the drug company is not able to expose its medicine to the full glare of informed public opinion, then governments have to be trusted to do the job for them.

The Google issues (Belgium Newspapers, Viacom/YouTube) are only the tip of the iceberg. The web scrapping capabilities of many web widgets and the ubiquitous use of deep linking is driving new knowledge and creating new value.

I have no doubt that in the USA, corporate America will introduce significant controls over the use and distribution of copyright material. Here is a view on that from JP Rangaswami.

In the UK things are different, you do not have to register content to own the copyright... you just have to be able to prosecute a case against someone using your content because you have automatic copyright of your works.

The EU, used to the command and control continuum from Nazi, Communists, Gaulists to Blairist, has no problem with copyright and a free and liberal exchange of intellectual property and thought is simply no more needed than the preaching of a crazed cleric or manic ayatollah or.... wait for it ... thousands of bloggers, web site scrapers, deep linkers and mashers.

The problem is that without considerable dismantling of copyright as we know it today, both corporate and national economies will become less competitive.

If you are a writer and work for the BBC, why should your work be forever hidden from view because the Corporation specifically forbids deep linking (the relevant content, I reproduce here and from this page in complete contravention to the terms and conditions laid down for the use of the site).

You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use bbc.co.uk content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use. You also agree not to adapt, alter or create a derivative work from any bbc.co.uk content except for your own personal, non-commercial use. Any other use of bbc.co.uk content requires the prior written permission of the BBC...

Of course, I have just picked on the BBC but almost every site has similar restriction.

The reason I do so is that the BBC like most organisation contradicts itself all over the place. Here is an example:
Browser-based news readers let you catch up with your RSS feed subscriptions from any computer, whereas downloadable applications let you store them on your main computer, in the same way that you either download your e-mail using Outlook, or keep it on a web-based service like Hotmail.

OOps! They recommend that you create a derivative work by using a an RSS reader...

Henry Jenkins makes a similar point here http://wbztv.com/video/?id=27945@wbz.dayport.com

See what I mean... the whole business is nonsense and copyright as we know it today has the capability to kill off major economies and return us back through to the command and control and slavery of past generations.

There has to be a better way.