The other side of the copyright story - the so-called ‘new business models’ - receives relatively little attention at a policy level. Moreover, there is little independent research on the real nature of the entertainment industry’s financial problems. The only statistics we have to go on are the music industry ones, and the music industry has a vested interest in those statistics. From a policy perspective, this means that decisions are being made using inadequate information.
However, when we read the business pages we do get insights into other problems in the copyright industries, which may be the real underlying reason for their woes. The case of EMI is a classic example, where the company got into trouble by overburdening itself with a massive debt. In order to determine the forward direction, one would first need to undestand the impact of the debt, how this might have reduced funds available for investment in new systems, and then one could position the impact of unauthorised downloading.
In this section, I will be logging information about the business of copyright. The idea is to begin to get a feel for the financial issues of the copyright industries and how to link them to policy decisions. Thus, it may seem a bit disjointed and sketchy, but the idea is to provide threads for further investigation and to see where it leads.
My feeling is that what policy-makers should not be asking is ‘how big a problem is the downloading of copyrighted content?’ but rather, ‘what are the real problems in the copyright business?’. and not 'how can we protect copyrights?' but rather 'how can we achieve revenues for the copyright industries in the online environment?'