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.


Comcast’s Catch-22 Position on SOPA

As noted by the folks over at Techdirt:

Just as NBC Universal and other SOPA supporters continue to insist that DNS redirect is completely compatible with DNSSEC… Comcast (and official SOPA/PIPA supporter) has rolled out DNSSEC, urged others to roll out DNSSEC and turned off its own DNS redirect system, stating clearly that DNS redirect is incompatible with DNSSEC, if you want to keep people secure. In the end, this certainly appears to suggest thatComcast is admitting that it cannot comply with SOPA/PIPA, even as the very same company is advocating for those laws. 



Rethinking the Unthinkable About SOPA

Lauren has a cogent framing of the legislative hurdles that might lead to SOPA getting through the House and Senate. I think that the ‘lets put up banners’ is a cruddy way to inform the public of SOPA’s implications. I agree that full-on blackouts of majors sites is a poor public relations tactic and unlikely to positively raise public (and legislative) awareness).

What might work, however, is highly targeted blackouts. Why not prevent the Congress, Senate, and White House, along with all other government bodies throughout the US, from accessing key sites such as Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, and so forth. This would make legislators realize what they’re about to do, its implications, and create a large enough media event that the public might wake up to what’s going on in Washington. Companies needn’t target the public themselves but just create a focusing event that brings SOPA and its problems to the public’s attention and legislators’ attention at effectively the same time.

Now, would political organizations get around ‘blockades’? Sure. The aim wouldn’t be perfect enforcement of a blockade but to capture real attention on SOPA and its harms, and make those harms tangibly real to the folks responsible for voting (or not) on this POS bill.