You'll have read from previous posts about the recurring theme (or is it a formula?) of new business models + effective copyright enforcement = 21st century copyright.
It seems to me that 'green shoots' of both elements are springing up around us. But where's the anecdotal evidence?
Let's start on the business model side. Amongst many challenges, two of the biggest are streamlining the cost and efficiency of clearing rights for online services and how to 'monetise' - horrible expression - content.
So it was interesting to see the announcement reported in the FT yesterday that PRS for Music is lowering the prices for pricing music online by almost two thirds - good news for streaming services like 'Spotify'. The FT reported that PRS wil receive 0.085p per song played online, down from 0.2p. In return, PRS' share of advertising or other revenues from services will rise from 8% to 10.5%.
Meanwhile, Facebook has taken a US$200m investment from the Russian company Digital Sky Technologies, valuing Facebook's preferred stock at US$10b. Whilst the valuation undoubtedly appealed to Facebook, Yuri Milner, founder of DSG which has stakes in 30 internet companies in Russia, was quoted in the FT yesterday, saying that "our network focused on monetisation a bit earlier than Facebook."
And then we have the resurgence of the debate within the newspaper industry about paid for content, although sceptics argue that only premium content, and not 'news of the day', may support subscription or other paid for models. But perhaps the advertising revenue sharing deal struck by PRS has potential for the newspaper industry in its relationship with search.
Effective copyright enforcement
It seems to me to be pretty clear that the 'credit crunch', and the loss of the financial services industies ability -at least for the time being - to sustain ever rising revenues, both for itself and the taxman, has raised the economic profile and signficance of the creative industries. In turn, that's leading to a joining up of the dots betweeen.......creative content.........jobs...........copyright enforcement. Under the headline 'Unions and publishers join to fight piracy', the FT reported today - that representatives of media unions on both sides of the Atlantic are co-ordinating their approach as the 'Digital Britain' report nears publication. Following the proposals in the interim Report and then Consultation on the Digital Rights Agency, momentum will gather for a legislative solution involving ISP's to the issue of illegal file sharing.
Getting that sorted won't be easy. Just take a look around Europe. With thanks to my colleague Angela Mills at EPC, here's a couple of key developments. The EU's Telecoms Package is still bogged down with Amendment 138, a measure that would force Member States to say, in their national law, that internet access can never be restricted without a “prior decision” from a judiciary authority. Meanwhile, France is going to create a high authority for the copyright protection and the dissemination of works on the internet (Hadopi). It is being created in order to avoid the need for judicial prosecution. The national debate has been stormy and it is not over yet: the Socialist opposition has gone to the Constitutional Court considering the planned measure to be “easily circumvented, counter-productive, unworkable and costly”. The Court will give its decision by June 19th and it could yet end up with the ECJ. So watch this space!
One thing is for sure. National measures to deal with the issue of illegal file sharing - here and around Europe and beyond - will be taken.
Enjoy your week. I'm off to Barcelona today to talk about "Web 2.0, UGC, Mash ups : who owns the data, who is responsible?" at the European Association of Database Publishers (EADP)Congress. As a Manchester United supporter, I'm hoping Barcelona's supporters won't gloat! Well, at least the excellent tapas will be some small consolation.