Copyright and Valuation

A very nice SOPA infographic.

Patry, Gillespie, Wu and other academics/industry experts have (literally) written books on the absurdities concerning how the American entertainment establishment has tried to control technological development. These attempts to control technology stem from fears of what might happen to particular bodies’ revenues. Such fears tend to be hypothetical and assume that self-cannibalism of one’s own business model is inherently bad, as opposed to a necessary element of a thriving capitalist, neo-liberal, marketplace. Amazon and others have thrived on cannibalizing factions of their businesses, rightly realizing that if you get there first then you can enjoy first-mover advantage, whereas if you are the last then there is a lowered opportunity to enter into the new market environment.

Possibly the thing that sticks in my mind the most around copyright infringement comes from an economic forum I attended a few years back. One of the fashion industry’s top branding specialists was presenting and asked about how copyright threatens her (Paris, Brazilian, American) business interests.

In response, she laughed and opened a quick file off her computer. It showed just how much money the fashion industry – as a component of US GDP – was worth in comparison to the entertainment industries. Fashion was worth more than 10x as much as entertainment. After pointing out differences in scale, she simply noted that a lack of copyright protection didn’t hinder or limit brand development or product creation in fashion: instead it created a more cut throat, innovative, industry which in turn led to higher productivity and profits.

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