a new marketplace for media

mediAgora defines a fair, workable market model that works with the new realities of digital media, instead of fighting them.

  • Creators should be credited and rewarded for their work.
  • Works can be incorporated into new creative works.
  • When they are, all source works should be credited and rewarded.
  • Customers should pay a known price.
  • Successful promotion of work should be rewarded too.
  • Individuals can play multiple roles - Creator, Promoter, Customer
  • Prices and sales figures should be open
  • Relationships are based on trust and reputation
  • Copy protection destroys value
Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Hope for rebirth

Mark Eris rants: The year in which all intellectual property (All? No. One small village in Gaul still.....) goes digital, and thus becomes thievable within 5 seconds of being available. Download the record of the book of the film of the comic and the delete it after one view, because it`s a crock of shit and you`re glad you didn`t pay any money for it anyway. The robber baron cartels find themselves having to run fast enough to keep up with people, as sitting on the sidelines calling the consumer a thief won`t cut it any more, no matter how many 5 year olds they take to court. And they can`t take it. It`s been too many decades since they had to go outside the house, and all that rich food, slave girls from the ghetto and colombian health products have taken their toll. Come off the accelerated culture curve for a second and listen. Really strain your ears. And you can hear them wheezing, coughing up blood, collapsed to the floor shouting abuse at the customer who is always right from somewhere back in the last decade.

Lots more - read the whole thing.

Friday, December 05, 2003

The technical case against DRM

Although the economic argument is more powerful - that DRM destroys value for customers and hence will be shunned by them - the technical argument is strong too.
This rests on one of the fundamental pillars of Computer Science - the Church Turing Thesis that states that any computer can emulate any other. When this is combined with the continual improvement in computing power available, it means we will always be able to run old software, or indeed protected software, by emulating the environment it runs within.
Simson Garfinkel describes how emulation saved the BBC Domesday Project, the authors of which I worked with at the BBC and the MMC.

"But that wasn't DRM" I hear the cry, "just obsolete hardware and data formats".

How about a systematic program that defeats the hardware protection for pay per use interactive experiences that works in a general enough way to encompass 25 years worth of hardware design?

It's called MAME and it has just been ported to the Nokia N-Gage cellphone/game gadget. It has emulators for various CPUs (and graphics and sound chips) to run the code directly from the original game ROMs - they look and feel just like the real thing
If Nokia are smart they will license this and the games and use it to promote the gadget - this company has licensed Atari ROMs for sale. After all, those 80s games are smaller than most MMS photos that get sent, and they're lots more fun than ringtones.

I hope Ed Felten and maybe can explain this to the assembled lawyers at the Berkman conference today. Most of them seem to like on compulsory licensing schemes.
I wish I had been able to take the chance offered to join them and present mediAgora to them. I look forward to reading the blogging of the event.

Here's a cartoon I made with the wonderfully silly Bayeux Tapestry Construction Kit

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Sharing and Stealing - Jessica Litman

Comment on Sharing and Stealing - Jessica Litman

It is a great essay until this paragraph::
"The key to the opt-out mechanism I propose is the selection of a single digital file format or family of formats capable of conveying copyright management information as defined in section 1202 of the copyright act. The format will probably incorporate digital rights management capability because the people who will be using it will desire that feature, but there's no need for any copy-protection to be hack-proof, or even exceptionally durable. It should also be compatible with the current generation of digital playback devices, including CD players. I'll call the format *.drm for short."

This aspiration: "It should also be compatible with the current generation of digital playback devices, including CD players." is impossible. CD players play unencrypted, uncompressed digital audio. A drm'd format would require new players.