Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Common Rights as Part of the Digital Agenda?

I will presenting my ideas on regulating Copyright at the European Commission's Stakeholders day on Monday the 25th October. Anyone in Brussels on that day please contact me if you would like to discuss the Common Right philosophy.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How to contact Rick Rubin?

Lynn Hirschberg has an article in The New York Times Magazine about Rick Rubin the new co-head of Columbia Records. Hirschberg reported:

Rubin has a bigger idea. To combat the devastating impact of file sharing, he, like others in the music business (Doug Morris and Jimmy Iovine at Universal, for instance), says that the future of the industry is a subscription model, much like paid cable on a television set. "You would subscribe to music," Rubin explained, as he settled on the velvet couch in his library. "You'd pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you'd like........"

............"It will be very difficult, but what else are we going to do?"

What else can be done? If Rick Rubin could listen to me I would tell him about the Rights Model that could include the 'anywhere you'd like' subscription model and do so much more.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The World We Want

Common Rights vision of the world we want:

- A world where all information is available to all people all the time for study, education, health and the advancement of society.

This was the original goal of our copyright regime, I believe, and it should remain the goal in our new digital world. A dynamic rights regime could achieve this while still recognising and rewarding creative effort of individuals.

This site is part of The World We Want network. Please tell the world what you want by blogging about it this week.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Music to my ears

"My suggestion is to junk the current structure entirely and recast copyright as an exclusive right of commercial exploitation. Copyright owners would have the sole right to exploit their works commercially or authorize others to do so, but would not be entitled to control noncommercial uses."

This is what Jessica Litman said to Mikael Pawlo in a Greplaw interview this week. Let me repeat it.

"My suggestion is to junk the current structure entirely and recast copyright as an exclusive right of commercial exploitation."

Thank you, Jessica Litman, for putting it so succinctly. This is exactly the intuitive response that I call for in Common Rights.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Copyright or Not

Every other article I read on digital goods and copyright proposes one of two extremes, either:

1) Keep copyright as it is and shore it up with more laws, lawsuits, controls, DRM, and anything else you can think of to reduce the efficiency of digital distribution. Roughly the course we are on now.

2) Or, abandon copyright completely, allow free access to all content for everyone, and reward artists from a central fund. Many have proposed solutions in this category and one of the latest being an article in the Register by Andrew Orlowski interviewing Jim Griffin. This course has some merits but also disadvantages – how to collect the money, who distributes it, who gets to register as artist, and how can you stop people gaming the system.

In the past, Jessica Litman has called for a complete rethink of copyright, "Most fundamentally, I would argue, we need to fasten on some measure of a copyright holders' rights other than the familiar reproduction." but she is now proposing a hybrid 'copyright / free distribution' model that I fear might inherit the disadvantages of both.

Why not a third way; a totally new model for dealing with intellectual property? Collective rights where, for starters, it establishes everyone's basic right of access to an intellectual product, goes on to give the author singular rights to trade the product commercially, and goes still further to allow others to take 'shares' in these rights to the product and so support it, promote it, share it, and use it as they wish. This approach allows distribution models from single item purchases, to subscription or levy systems (Griffin bundles), to free promotional offers, all without DRM or technological controls.

Not copyright, not nothing, but something new.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

No future for DRM

Mitch Wagner has posted an article on why DRM won't work and also provides a few pointers to what the future might look like for media companies. Wagner rightly states, 'If people are unwilling to buy something, technology and law won't make them buy it.' and then goes on to ask the question:

'So what's the alternative? I don't know. Right now, digital media are available for free over pirate services over the Internet. How do you get people to be willing to pay for it? The technology and content already exist, what's waiting to materialize is the business model to harness digital media.'

Yet again, I would like to propose Distributed Intellectual Property Rights. Although the Collective Rights philosophy refers extensively to 'rights' and draws on some 'rights management' technologies, such as persistent identifiers and secure databases, these rights are granted to all individuals to allow access all intellectual work and they bear little resemblance to the rights granted to authors and publishers who control copying under copyright. The business model Wagner is looking for is one which will allow digital media to compete with free. DIPR creates the peer-to-peer Internet structure for such a model where creators can provide the 'essential services' to 'known' consumers and where these services can outperform the free. In the case of journalists part of this service is 'timeliness' as Wagner points out.

Read DIPR and tell me why this approach is wrong.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

In 1710 the copyright term was set to 14 years extendible by another 14 years. In 1842 the British said life-plus 7 years. In 1908 Berne said life-plus 50 and in 1998 Mickey upped the stakes to life-plus 70 years. When will the term tussle end?

I propose that if authors were to publish their work under the Distributed Intellectual Property Rights system the collective rights model would allow the author to choose the term of his or her controlling interest in the creative work.

"How can we possible allow this?" is the cry I hear from the Creative Commons camp and many others who take an interest in the issue. "Surely, no work will ever reach the public domain again!"

On the contrary, I maintain that the time for most works to reach the public domain would be reduced under DIPR for, unlike copyright, there is a cost, albeit small, to maintaining a persistently identified work. Under copyright there is no cost to maintaining the copyright after producing the initial tangible manifestation and this is why there is a group proposing the Public Domain Enhancement Act where for a fee of 1$ after a period of fifty years, say, a rights holder would be able to maintain their copyright if it was still worth 1$ for them to do so.

Better than this artificial public domain enhancement cost, the ongoing costs of maintaining a collective work in DIPR will persuade owners to relinquish their rights to a work immediately it has finished paying its way. Let the author decide when this time arrives and therefore the length of the term.