February 18, 2003
[Updated: 6:11 PM & 2-19-03 10:45 AM]
I’ve been meaning to take a look at mediAgora.com for awhile. I’ve finally had a chance to peruse the site, and here are some first thoughts.
1. The great part about this proposal is, not only does it “[work] with the new realities of digital media,” it works within the present reality of copyright. It doesn’t revolutionize the system. Creators already set the license terms for derivative works, and there is no compulsory license in the digital realm outside of the CARP rates for non-interactive streaming.
2. The Promoter role is sensible and should serve as a helpful deterrent for media pirates. It provides an incentive to, as Kevin says, work within the system.
3. Kevin talks about sharing music as a promoter as being something done between friends. In actuality, file trading is done between complete strangers. It could take other shapes, particularly if there were media companies provided more legal avenues to download digital media. But, it’s likely that a lot of the trading will still remain in a P2P, stranger-to-stranger medium.
If that’s the case, why won’t this end up like Altnet? If you get on KaZaA you can get legal content through Altnet, but no one really does. Why? Because all of the legal content, pay-for-use content appears right next to the illegal, free content. As Scott Hunter described it in an email mesage to me, this is akin to “putting one buoy in a lake filled with them, easy to swim around.”
Sure, the promotion fee will make some people work within the system. But, will it make enough people do so?
4. If the music and movie companies aren’t licensing their content online right now, why would they do it under this system? I know, there’s Listen.com and such – but, really, we’ve got MusicNet, PressPlay, and Movielink. That’s about it. What’s going to change that under mediAgora?
5. Perhaps it’s a matter of time until the media companies realize that something like mediAgora makes sense. They’ll realize their business models need to change.
Or, maybe not – maybe the system needs more of a legislative shove in the right direction.
6. And what’s to stop media creators from using DRM to limit legitimate private/fair uses other than copying? How will we embed in the system an incentive to not do that? Is the fact that limiting private/fair uses makes a product less valuable to the consumer enough to prevent such controls from being employed?
Also, Kevin has responded here.