Quick List Of Successes In Which Copyright Didn't Matter

from the not-exhaustive dept

There's sort of an odd back and forth that happens at Techdirt, where we spend a great deal of time highlighting all the success stories of artists and creators that managed quite well without operating under the stringent guidelines of intellectual property laws. Glyn Moody recently covered one such story in Psy, creator of the nearly unfathomably popular Gangam Style music video. As happens so often when we post these stories, some detractors consider Psy an "anomaly", despite how often we cover these stories, and as though mainstream label successes of Psy's size weren't also "anomalies". So perhaps it would be useful to have a post that wrapped up a non-exhaustive but multi-creator list of folks who have embraced piracy to further their own success.

That's exactly what Geek.com has put together, putting four other creators alongside Psy with brief descriptions of how they spurned copyright and were successful in spite of, or perhaps because of, that decision. The list includes names you should recognize by now, from Cory Doctrow to Louis CK and on to Peter Mountford. But one new name you'll see on this list is Shahrzad Rafati.
Where most content producers see pirated video as a negative for revenue, Shahrzad Rafati saw an opportunity. Rafati started Broadband TV in 2005 with the aim of monetizing and legitimizing pirated video. The Canadian company searches video sharing services, looking for copyrighted material. Instead of removing it, Broadband TV re-brands the content, includes relevant ads, and reposts. What once was infringing video has become a revenue source.
Rafati realized that people uploading videos aren’t doing it to be malicious. They just really enjoy the content and want to share it. A heavy handed approach to enforcement won’t work long-term. Broadband TV currently works with some big name partners like the NBA, Warner Brothers, Sony, and YouTube. The company also has a YouTube channel called VISO where users can watch sports, movie trailers, and news programs.
Like the others, where Rafati had success is utlimately in identifying what people wanted and figuring out an amicable way to intersect that desire with content producers to create yet another success story. But, what you'll notice in these stories, the first step is in identifying and satisfying a public's need or want. What they never start with is a knee-jerk or angry reaction to that need.

The list is growing, regardless of what critics might suggest. If major media wants to get on board with these kinds of stories even further, they can win. If they don't, then I guess we'll just keep collecting the names and stories of others who do it better.

Reader Comments

The First Word

Just a few exceptions

The generality is quite simple, piracy has devastated the music business and the 2.1 million people it employs in the USA alone (95% are lawyers). It's gotten so bad that Aimee Mann has taken to cleaning houses, it is true, I saw it on TV.

The movie industry, despite losing $17 billion per month since the 1970's when the VCR strangled women at home, has lost 3.7 million jobs each year! Catering companies and florists, for example, can't find any other company to have as customers. They only service the movie industry. No one else. They are also laying people off (in addition to the 3.7 million per year) and closing up shop.

It's all Google's fault because they won't limit searches to just the legitimate content, and after its windowed release of 96 days because the longer people wait, the more they want it. They don't have other sources of entertainment. Seriously, videogames were a temporary fad, only supported by comic book collectors like that guy on the Simpsons.

There are no real success stories or those in the list would have brought back all those jobs and billions in revenue.

We all know Pirate Mike and his TechDirt minions are the real people behind Google's power and takeover of the Internet for the sole purpose of stealing intellectual property.

It's all part of the Streisand Effect, as outlined in Wikipedia.

There is no quality of art outside of the corporations and all you pirates want to do is destroy what's left so there's nothing but cigarbox music about the long lost days when artists were swimming in money thanks to our now broken system. It's all your fault you evil pirates! We've bent over backwards to see straight and you still steal us blind.


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2012 @ 9:22am

    Re: Timmy, Rita Hayworth* was "discovered" at a soda fountain.

    "Explain HER success"

    The reason we need to abolish copyright.

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