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Monday, July 04, 2005

Two pieces from today's NY Times

Tom Zeller makes a similar observation in his "Link by Link" column today as I made in the Merc yesterday:

    In the digital age, the music industry faces two basic choices - either make it too risky to upload and download copyrighted files (or to even create software that allows people to do so), or completely rethink the business.

    So far, the industry has relied on the former strategy. But each new court victory arrives years behind the next digital innovation, born in some college dorm where an abiding geekiness is the motivator and earning profits means little. However valid the industry's desire to protect its products, trying to stop file sharing has become a Sisyphean exercise. (Emphasis mine.)

That goes for movies and TV shows, too. Zeller also quotes Eric Garland of the research firm Big Champagne:

"`It is the consumers' increasingly powerful position,' [Garland] said, that will define the new marketplace."

The article brings up the idea of some sort of monthly media subscription fee, which would be divvied up among studios, labels, and artists based on what a consumer watched or listened to. Garland says content may be viewed as a utility, like water from a tap. Interesting idea - but right now it's hard for me to imagine consumers accepting it.

The headline on Zeller's piece is, "The Imps of File Sharing May Lose in Court, But They Are Winning in the Marketplace."

The second piece in today's Times makes a similar assumption, but even questions whether last week's Supreme Court ruling was really even a defeat for file-sharing. It's titled, "Forget the Bootleg, Just Download the Movie Legally."

    The studios have been working for months to confront the technological and business challenges of digital sales. Those initiatives gained new urgency on June 27 when the Supreme Court ruled that companies distributing software that allows users to trade pirated copies of audio and video files are liable for copyright infringement only if they induce users to break the law. (My emphasis.)

Studios are digitizing more of their film libraries, and Disney president Bob Iger is talking about making "Desperate Housewives" available for download the day after it airs, with DVD-like "special features."

OK - but enough talk - let's see some action.

Josh Goldman, CEO of Akimbo Systems, hits the nail on the head when he says that some experimentation is happening, but that "everyone is holding back the best of their programming until they figure out the right model."