Alternative Compensation System Meeting

Tomorrow, I will be at the Berkman Center’s Development of a Alternative Compensation System (ACS) for  Digital Media in a Global Environment meeting.  I’m not sure why the Berkman Center hasn’t posted a participants list, so I’ll ask permission and try to post a list later.  Perhaps I’ll also be able to post some sort of write-up, but not quite sure about those constraints yet either. In any case, more on this later.

5 Responses to “Alternative Compensation System Meeting”

  1. Kevin Marks
    December 5th, 2003 | 4:20 am

    Hi Derek, do you have a Mac? Any chance of an iChat Av feed? (I was invited but couldn’t make it) OR come into IRC and chat about it while it happens

  2. PhilTR
    December 5th, 2003 | 4:59 pm

    I’ve made a yeoman’s effort to follow the arguments for and against and I’m still not exactly certain as to why the big record companies should not be permitted to pass into that good night just as the buggy whip manufacturers were at the end of the 19th century. Just because they’re big and consume billions of dollars in their efforts to perpetuate themselves, doesn’t seem to me to be a legitimate reason to force them, using draconian laws, on a public that no longer needs them.

    The only reason the big five record companies came into existence was because of an industry induced perception of difficulty getting music from the author to the listener in a semi-permanent form, i.e., records and later tapes. They strategically positioned themselves and successfully indoctrinated the consumer as to their indispensability in the effective acquisition and distribution of quality music.

    If ever it really was, this is no longer the case. The internet makes it easy for authors to reach an ever expanding audience of consumers. Low cost hardware and software make it easy for an author to produce her own high quality material. P2P systems are very efficient in broadcasting (advertising) awareness and availability of new material and can even mediate the purchase of yet unreleased material. To be quite frank about it, there no longer is a need for record publishers and producers. Particularly in light of how little of the revenue stream ever reaches the authors.

    So, I would think, the critical question becomes, why prop them up artificially, at enormous cost to society? I just don’t think it makes sense any longer to do so. Our coin could be better spent. Cut them loose.

  3. JennyB
    December 5th, 2003 | 5:14 pm

    Buggy whip manufacturers went out of business because consumers stopped buying buggies and started buying cars. Nothing illegal about that.

    Record companies are being severely harmed because millions of people are infringing their copyrights. That is unquestionably illegal, and the companies are well within their rights to sue to stop it.

    If you’d rather spend your “coin” on something other than music, more power to you. But if you choose to infringe their copyrights, you will deservedly incur their full wrath.

  4. Adam
    December 5th, 2003 | 6:13 pm

    Law is always a step behind technology – law is still playing catchup. The rights the record companies are well within did not exhist in their present form even 50 years ago. The rights that exist today are the byproduct of a strong industry lobby propped by funds acquired through sometimes nefarious means.

    “The law is the law” is a poor argument. The law will change, but to create that change there must be a critical mass of dissent. If prohibition was 100% effective it would still be the law today. The 21st amendment enumerated the rights of the consumer. I doubt transmogrification of current copyright law will (or should) be so dramatic, however, now that the genie is out of the bottle change is needed, and I beleive that Derek’s sentiment just might be that the RIAA’s efforts lack both foresight and equanimity.

  5. PhilTR
    December 6th, 2003 | 10:59 am

    Shouldn’t consumers be encouraged to “purchase” digitally storable data (on computers and mp3 players) and allowed to stop buying data stored by analog means (vynil and plastic)? You make my point eloquently. Buggys were indeed a means of transportation replaced by automobiles. Analog files are a means of storing data that can be replaced by digital files. The current producers of music and movies are inappropriate for todays evolving market and actually are preventing society from moving on to new and better approaches of moving music and movies from authors to consumers. In short these entities are no longer useful, possibly not even desirable.

    I don’t feel the least bit sorry for the record companies. They created the mess they now find themselves in and the sooner society can move on, the better. The record companies belong to a bygone era and should be allowed to assume their rightful place in history.

    Further, some assumptions are being made here. First, is that each downloaded file represents a lost sale. There is absolutely no empirical evidence that proves this to be true. Second, downloading in not necessarily illegal as the “owner” still has the original with which she can do what ever she likes.

    I would imagine the records company have far greater resources to manufacture and distribute music than any one downloader or even one million downloaders, thus an enormous nearly unsurmountable economic advantage. I certainly would never be so bold as to tell the record companies how to run their businesses but, I sure do resent and will mightily resist their efforts at forcing me to continue buying buggies when perfectly legal cars are available. You might want to start buying cars too.

    Finally, it’s not my ‘coin’ but, rather society’s coin that is at risk.