2007/06/20

Will Copyright Kill Social Media? (Supernova)


(Moderator Denise Howell, Ron Dreben, Fred von Lohmann, Mary Hodder, Mark Morril, Zahavah Levine)


The promise of social networks, video sharing, and online communitiesgoes hand-in-hand with the challenge of unauthorized use. Is socialmedia thriving through misappropriation of the creativity of others? Or are the responses to that concern actually the greater problem?

-- Will Copyright Kill Social Media?
Everyone agreed that copyright won't kill social media, though it will shape it (that which does not kill you makes you stronger?)  Unfortunately we ran out of time before I was able to ask the following, so I'll just blog them instead. 

Mark Morrill was very reasonable for the most part, but made two outrageous claims: That DRM is pro-consumer, and that we should be able to filter on upload for copyright violations.  The first claim is I think simply ridiculous, especially when the architect of the DMCA says that the DRM provisions have failed to achieve their effect and consumers are rejecting DRM wherever they have a choice.  You can say it's needed for some business model, or required to make profit, but I don't see how you can say it's pro-consumer with a straight face.

On filtering, Zahavah Levine pointed out that copyright isn't like porn; there's nothing in the content itself that lets you know who the uploader really is and whether they own any necessary rights.  But even if you had this, it seems to me that you'd need an artificial lawyer to have a scalable solution.  (GLawyer?)

On the technical side, I heard one thing that isn't surprising:  That it would be very helpful to have a way for rights holders to be able to assert their rights in a verifiable way.  An opt-in copyright registration scheme that provided verifiability might be a step forward here.  Alternatively, perhaps a distributed scheme based on verifiable identities and compulsory licenses might be worth looking at.