Patry: It's Not Copyright That Creates Value, It's Consumers' Willingness To Buy
from the indeed dept
On it, he's hosting a back-and-forth discussion with an entertainment industry lawyer who disagrees with him, Ben Sheffner, which goes into the same discussion we had last week concerning Sheffner's highly questionable claim that the jury rulings against Tenenbaum and Thomas somehow represent the views of everyday people on copyright. In that ongoing discussion, Patry does a nice job highlighting how the entertainment industry keeps trying to kill off innovation and protect its old business models via copyright while failing to do the one thing it should have done all along: build a real business with new business models that embrace the changing market:
I don't deny the RIAA was entitled to bring all the suits it did (aside from the many false accusations of course), but the business of companies that want to sell mass market goods to consumers is not suing those consumers. The business of the RIAA may be doing that because it has to justify its own existence, but the business of business is business, not litigation. One would never know that from the industry's reaction to virtually every new digital technology that has come along; for example, the suit against MP3.com over storage lockers, and the eventual bankrupting of that company was, in my opinion, a terrible mistake and certainly anti-consumer. (I represented the defendant for awhile). There was no evidence that Mp3.com's security -- which required verification that the consumer had bought a legitimate CD -- had ever been broken; instead, the industry wanted to force consumers to buy multiple CDs of a work they had already bought, rather than letting them listen to it regardless of where they were.Indeed. Read the whole thing and be sure to subscribe to the blog...
The industry's suit against Launchcast, brought deliberately while it was being bought by Yahoo, was a similar anti-consumer suit. (Yes, I represented defendant there for awhile) too. Launchcast was engaged in the authorized streaming of music, in conjunction with intelligent software designed to learn consumers' test and that helped introduced consumers to new music. The service could never result in loss of sales; quite the opposite. The functionalities the industry objected to had nothing to do with violation of any rights remotely granted by the copyright act. There are many more examples in addition to MP3.com and Launchcast.
The industry's failure to offer any alternative after Napster isn't just a small oversight; in my view, when coupled with the industry's repeated suits against almost any business it had not authorized (read controlled), and the decision to send out massive cease and desist letters and suits against individuals, that failure is directly responsible for the highly negative attitude many people have toward the industry. The failure of the industry to provide a way for people to access legitimate product led consumers both to unauthorized product and to rightly conclude that copyright was the primary weapon being used to thwart consumers' desires. I really don't think these assertions should be controversial. I repeat that copyright doesn't create economic value, a statement that is not intended to disparage copyright; it is merely to state the obvious: it is only consumers' willingness to buy something that creates economic value.