Last week, there was a Forbes article that cropped up on Techmeme with what is likely to become a prophetic title: If Content Is King, Then Copyright Is Its Castle. The article centred on the argument that copyright is essential for creativity and included the following gem:

“Copyright compels creativity, it furnishes the incentive to innovate. If you limit the protection of copyright, you stifle the expression of self.” – Sumner Redstone, Chairman, Viacom and CBS

The thing with castles is that they were great in their day – walled fortresses that proved quite difficult to break into without dying in the process. But then, one day (well, it probably took quite a few), the tactics and technology changed. Invaders came up with 3 options: 1. Ignore the castle and just go around it; 2. Camp outside with a picnic and wait for everyone inside to start getting very very hungry; or 3. (unsurprisingly, most popular) purchase the latest gadget – canons – and blast the walls to smithereens. And so castles were doomed to decline and become tourist attractions (I live near a couple of them), and more than a few of their inhabitants died in the process.

The comparison with traditional media channels seems quite reasonable.

Lawrence Lessig has promoted an alternative viewpoint for quite some time now. He delivered a fabulous speech at TED – How Creativity Is Being Strangled By The Law. Anyone who has seen the short video clip of an alien being squashed by a glitter ball whilst singing Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ will love the Jesus version included in the talk…

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Filed under: Trends – Digital R? Management

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