Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, May 9, 2008

Context Rights: Why Content Publishers Need To Abandon The Copyright Licensing Paradigm

Traditional content publishers, those who have yet to embrace and understand fully the logic of the web, have been utilizing their legal arms and small army of lawyers to wage a copyright war... fight, discourage and destroy anything that appeared as a slightly moving object in their trajectory toward total control of their distribution channels. But is this working for them, or against them?

Photo credit: Bouzou Jean-Louis

John Blossom, analyst and writer on media content strategies, takes his stand on these sensitive issues and explains, in quite simple words, why traditional content publishers need to stop utilizing copyright laws and the legal system to defend their territory. Instead content publishers need to open up and embrace new copyright paradigms.

"Providing value in context is the true value of publishing, a concept that is conflicting more and more with the mass manufacturing model that drives the production of much of today's copyrighted content."

The value and reasoning of copyright are being defeated by a new marketplace and distribution ecosystem which is built on premises and interactions that are radically opposite to those on which copyright took its roots.

Today, content finds its value most easily when it can freely move along its natural, spontaneous, self-emerging distribution channels. And so, although difficult to predict, it is only "once content has been distributed" that "it finds its value most easily." It is context that today determines content value, leading naturally toward a possible new style of automated content licensing, which could leverage a number of existing licensing models to pay back authors and content creators for their work.

Here is his view:




The Future of Copyright is Here

by John Blossom

...Corporate librarians bemoan publishers doing little to address many key issues regarding their business models, especially how they related to copyright.

The publishing industry has enormous vested interests in managing copyright through traditional legal and business channels, preferring the intricacies of case-by-case deal-making to the risk of distributing content to the wrong people under the wrong terms.

This emphasis on legal departments as key elements of publishers' fundamental revenue models and opportunistic lawsuits that argue for copyright enforcement on increasingly arbitrary grounds has created an utterly balkanized landscape of kludgey deals and half-considered rulings in dozens of courts that in essence has dismantled much of the value of the once common and simple concept of copyright.

The New Panorama

In the meantime the online economy has prospered, not by corrupting copyright but by creating value out of content in legitimate derivative works and in new sources of original authorship which in sum dwarfs the output of traditional publishing outlets.

Many new services are facilitating the ability of people to apply copyright effectively online in a far more automated fashion for specific items of content.

Value in Context

Providing value in context is the true value of publishing, a concept that is conflicting more and more with the mass manufacturing model that drives the production of much of today's copyrighted content.

Much of the value of online content for a given audience where infinite supply reigns is fleeting, highly contextual and oriented more towards executing business deals or building relationships.

The fundamental concept of copyright - that creating a temporary monopoly for a publisher based on the premise that control of distribution will sustain publishers - is becoming far more limited in its effectiveness to deliver value.

The question is not whether someone should have a right to license their content for use under copyright but rather how they should license it. This is why I have suggested for several years that publishers focus on the concept of context rights rather than copyright.

In other words, once content has been distributed, it finds its value most easily. The fleeting moments and contexts in which it becomes valuable are difficult to predict in advance in an online environment and the relationships that will result in those moments harder yet to predict.

The Cure for the Copyright Industry

What the copyright industry needs to adapt to is a different view of what technology will help rights holders to make the most of content that benefits most from unfettered distribution. I believe that this will lead towards is a new style of licensing that is more fully automated and which uses a variety of predefined models to compensate content creators for their works.

The rewards may be smaller overall in many instances in terms of money exchanged, but offering more exploitable brand value over time as people discover not only the value of a particular work but the value of a relationship with the creator of the work.

Originally written by John Blossom for Shore and first published on May 1st 2008 as "OnCopyright 2008: The Future of Copyright is Here"

John Blossom -
Reference: Shore [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Friday, May 9 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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