Friday, September 15, 2006

Clash of the Titans

According to this article, Universal Music Group is contemplating suing MySpace and YouTube for copyright violation. Frankly, I hope it happens. I'd like nothing better than to see the media conglomerates bleed each other dry in court. That's the only way they'll realize the need to amend the copyright law so that it makes sense in the digital age.

2 comments:

Keith James said...

All that will happen is that those sites will cave, pull everything Universal asks them to pull, and ultimately end up signing deals giving them exclusivity to certain material. I get a kick out of this fantasy that the whole concept of copyright is going to somehow disappear and absolutely everything ever filmed or recorded will be available for free on the internet.

Mark Mayerson said...

Keith, I have no such fantasy. As a creator, I don't want copyright to disappear, but I do want it to become a lot more flexible.

The media conglomerates have failed miserably to stop digital copying. Better to create some kind of service charge to use the internet and then divide the spoils based on how much an item is copied. That encourages the dissemination of material, which is in the interest of creators and the audience alike, while still paying creators for the use of their material. This is exactly how radio works with regards to playing music. I don't know why this system isn't applied to the internet.

My point about the article is that the media conglomerates are now on both sides of the fight. Universal wants to preserve copyright as is. MySpace and YouTube need a looser copyright if their businesses are going to continue to grow. The biggest irony here is that Fox owns MySpace, putting Fox on both sides of the copyright war. They want to preserve copyright on their films and TV shows and want to loosen it so that MySpace can thrive.

Eventually, these giant companies will realize that they have to change the copyright laws for their own survival. The sooner they reach that conclusion, the better for everybody.