Tim O’Reilly about copyright and new technology

Anyone interested in copyright vs new uses of technology should read Tim’s Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution, it really shifts the point of view from the big media corporations somewhat paranoid view of digital content, to a more down to earth and possible way of using the new digital opportunities.

One thing to remember, before reading Tim’s story, is that historically all new technology has been looked upon with great paranoia and promise of doom from the likes of RIAA and MPAA. Evidence of that paranoia can be found in historic statements such as:

“I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.”

From Jack Valenti leader of the MPAA. The statement was made at Jacks famous testimony in 1982, where the Movie Cartel was attempting to sue the VCR out of existence.

I am sure Jack and MPAA is happy today that they weren’t able to sue the VCR out of existence. But it does not appear they learned anything from the course of history.

BTW: Tim writes about some of the initiative that O’Reillys have taken to meet the new opportunities and challenges in the digital era. One of the things they have done that really impressed me, and shows clueness, is that they have opted to make freely available digital versions of books that are out of print or otherwise have small markets in their Open Book Project. This is a great idea for music, movie and software publishers alike. Why not make available products that otherwise would just gather dust and never surface again. Theres nothing to be lost in doing it, and everything to be gained.

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