Big tech accountability? Read how we got here in  The Closing of the Net 

Copyright Business

The other side of the copyright story - the so-called ‘new business models’ - receives far less attention at a policy level than the enforcement measures.  The industry lobbying is overweight with recommendations for way s that governments can impose restrictions in order to protect copyright material. Conversely, the debate is less about how changing a business model can overcome the issues around the online dissemination of infringing content.  

This issue has, of course, moved on a lot since I began this blog in 2008. Streaming has become the music industry's favoured business model, and  streaming services like Spotify have blossomed. This has shifted the landscape. However, it is historically true that each time a new technology appears, the industries that have vested interests in copyright, increase the intensity of their lobbying. It is important for those engaged in copyright policy, to keep an eye on new developments and understand their implications and the opportunities for new ways to structure the entertainment and music businesses. 

 In this section, I have been 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 it may 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?'

BMG, the recently relaunched music publishing arm of Germany's Bertelsmann, has €250 to spend on buying up catalogues of music rights. What can  this tell us about the state of the music industry?

 

According to reports in the Financial Times, BMG*, the recently relaunched music publishing arm of German media empire Bertelsmann, has €250 million  in venture capital funding. It is seeking to spend this money on catalogues of rights to composers and songwriters in the US and the UK. In doing so, it hopes to challenge the might of the 'big four' music publishers who currently control the music market. 

 

The story here appears to be  quite a different story from the one that the music industry tells to politicians and policy-makers.   

It is interesting that in times when

Read more: BMG goes shopping for music rights with €250 million

The sunglass-wearing Irish pop singer Bono has a clash of financial interests  between his Internet investments and his copyright pro-3-strikes stance, as exposed by the sale this week of the computer-maker Palm. Should we call him a hypocrite?

 

U2's Bono is one five directors of Elevation Partners a venture capital company behind Palm, the US maker of hand-held computers.  According to US media sources, he has already made $US82.3 million from this investment. The sale of Palm to Hewlett-Packard for $US1.2 billion, agreed yesterday, stands to return his invested capital and net him even more profit. Bono is also sponsored by Blackberry, the maker of a rival product to Palm.

U2's manager, Paul McGuiness, is one of the most vitriolic opponents of the open Internet. McGuiness is  a key person behind the music industry's push for 3-strikes measures to punish Internet users - for using the very equipment which is delivering this second fortune to Bono. McGuiness has spoken openly and aggressively about his desire for ISPs to be made liable for copyright infringements.  

How do 

Read more: Palm sale exposes 'Net dealings of U2's Bono

The EU-funded film Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars yesterday. It's backers are lobbying the European Union for 3-strikes measures that will penalise Internet users and puts the entire Internet in jeopardy from filtering. How do we square that from a public policy perspective?

 

Anyone who is not a hermit will know that a film called Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscar awards  at a ceremony in Hollywood last night. What isn't so well known is that the film received 830 million Euro from the EU's MEDIA programme which provides funding for European films. Even less well known is that its other  financial backers  - Pathe and 20th Century Fox - who stand to make huge profits from the film -  have been lobbying the EU for graduated response / 3-strikes measures.

Pathe (based in France)  and Fox (owned by Rupert Murdoch's

Read more: And the Oscar goes to ...3-Strikes

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States v the 'Net? 

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.

Iptegrity in brief

 

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing. I am on the Advisory Council of the Open Rights Group.  I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. For more, see About Iptegrity

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The politics of copyright

A Copyright Masquerade - How corporate lobbying threatens online freedoms

'timely and provocative' Entertainment Law Review


 

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