October 19, 2007 |
What do Viacom, Disney, Microsoft, and MySpace have in common? They all want to set “guidelines” in order to maintain copyrights online.
Yes, all four (seems a strangely small group considering the proportions of the effort, no?) have joined hands to work to establish a commonly acceptable system which will purportedly “stop pirated material” from proliferating and generally protect copyright rules from widespread subversion.
And all four will fail at the job. Well, okay, maybe they will, maybe they won’t. To tell you the truth, I’ve no clue how things will shake out. But I kind of find it troubling that corporations are working in unison on technologies to address the issue of peer-to-peer piracy and whatnot, rather than, you know, the institution whose role it is to protect copyright law: government. So troubling, in fact, that one can’t help but get a little suspicious about the true intentions of this wee project they’ve all bandied together on.
Now, I’m not trying to conjure up a conspiracy theory here. To be honest, I think all involved with this newly announced effort are participating with nary an ill intention whatsoever. But really, should not the Copyright Board or some other group of suits be doing this kind of generalized work?
Alright, so as I see it, of the four initial participants (the BBC has reported that analysts predict Google will join the fold sometime or other), Viacom and Disney definitely have incentive to keep their respective catalogues from being leaked, pilfered, and distributed illegally. And because Microsoft and MySpace are venturing more and more into the world of media (as distributors), they’ve got reason to maintain the media companies’ good graces. Thus they’ve all at once sat down at the proverbial table to discuss potential solutions to the problems they all now (and will continue to) contend with.
Unfortunately, they’re all profit-seeking businesses, and one can also quickly point out the fact that they are competitors, too. So how do competitors manage to work together? Well, they don’t. And if they do, things never work out as planned.
So this thing, this “pact” Viacom, Disney, Microsoft, and MySpace have signed on to? It’s not going to pan – at least not in the way they’re hoping. Yes, copyright law and the issues surrounding it certainly need to be addressed, but this quartet seem to be under the impression that it needs to be fortified and upheld with nifty new pieces of software and so forth. That impression is flawed. Instead, copyright law itself needs changing. Copyright owners need to swallow this bout of grief they’re experiencing and embrace what’s going on on the Web today. Such is the only path they can take that offers them the best opportunity to pull themselves out of the hole they’ve dug.
Yes, they’ve dug. To lay the fault of current debacle with any group other than the copyright owners of the world would be foolish.
Think differently? Let us know below. Think alike? Do say so as well.