This whole copyright licensing of media thing

Like the rest of the world, I became enchanted by ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent when I saw Paul Potts‘ remarkable performance on YouTube – oh the tears! This of course led to hunger for more and I randomly went through some of the related YouTube videos. At one point I thought ‘hang on – I’m sure they’ve got a website with better quality clips and a much better organisational overview’. And they do -yay! But no – I get this picture up. “This content is not for viewing outside of the UK due to rights reasons”. Urgh! My thoughts go to the delightful Ben Hammersley‘s words:

The audience is actually quite happy to pay for these things. Witness the sales of DVD box-sets, or the success of the downloadable episodes of hit shows in the iTunes Music Store. Again, though, the television industry shoots itself in the foot. Would I pay for downloadable episodes of the Daily Show? Yes. Will anyone take my money from me? No. Why? Because I’m in the wrong country. Well, I tried. I’ll be thinking about how little their broken business model is my problem as I boot up my torrent software, download the show, and watch the whole thing, including the adverts and any in-show sponsorship.It’s a curious business indeed that turns away customers. It’s exceptionally puzzling when an industry ignores offers of cash. The reason for this seemingly counter-intuitive approach to business – where those with the supply actively avoid those with the demand – is that selling programming is not the business channels are in.

The Guardian, March 20, 2006

“Get with the programme”

It’s just so freakin annoying and so pathetic and stupid!

This is also one of the fundamental reasons I get excited about what can happen with worlds such a Second Life. In my warped imagination – I see the metaverse as solving much of these licensing problems. Because Second Life can integrate other media – The Sundance Channel can have screenings there, for example. I’m well aware that broadcasting laws are so incredibly complex that I won’t be able to see what I want to see anytime soon. But I’ve always felt that having a metaverse gives these problems a type of physicality and identity so you can see avatars as citizens – who will eventually pay taxes and licensing fees (reasonably, of course). I’ve always thought that building a metaverse would solve a lot of these complex legal issues – letting licensing go beyond borders by creating a own virtually bordered world – but the more I read about media and digital law the more confused I get and I feel incredibly naive for thinking such things, so I think I’ll just save those thoughts for another time when I’m not as vulnerable and tired.

Anyways, I’ve just finished watching Good Copy Bad Copy (strongly recommended by Cory Doctorow)which focuses a lot on why media archives should be available for the public. Great viewing. With lovely understandable experts such as Yochai Benkler and Lawrence Lessig – who just make everything seem so simple and obvious. They’ve also got Paul Gerhardt talking about the BBC’s Creative Archives – which seems so promising!

Have a look!

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