IP and the user generated economy at TechCrunch40

Some very competitively interesting Web companies are being launched and/or featured today and tomorrow at TechCrunch40. In the wrap-up portion of the Community Collaboration session, former Napster executive Don Dodge was quick to note that many of these companies depend on user submissions and uploads to populate their services, and they need to be managing the IP considerations on the front end.

Some very competitively interesting Web companies are being launched and/or featured today and tomorrow at TechCrunch40. In the wrap-up portion of the Community Collaboration session, former Napster executive Don Dodge was quick to note that many of these companies depend on user submissions and uploads to populate their services, and they need to be managing the IP considerations on the front end.

StoryBlender (a project from the creators of Cyworld) provides an online editing tool for collaborative video production. When pressed on the related IP issues, the presenters said they have learned from YouTube's experiences and will have rigid policies (and presumably technology) in place to block uploading of copyrighted, unlicensed works.

It will be interesting to see whether AOL's BlueString, which launched today at the conference and offers storage and sharing for photos, videos, and music, will take a similar approach. Its terms unsurprisingly put the copyright compliance obligations on the individual users. It invites users to upload their photos, their videos, and "their music" — though of course, as the '80's mix cd graphic now on the homepage suggests, BlueString users are unlikely to have created "their music" themselves, thus putting the service in the likely and unenviable line of fire of the major record labels.

Probably the biggest crowd favorite today was musicshake, a company that aims to change the assumption that a user's "own music" was not created (at least in part) by the user her/himself. It's a slick online music creation site, like GarageBand moved to the Web and made very user-friendly. The clips forming the foundation of musicshake creations are all licensed, and the company plans to let users sell their creations, keeping some of the proceeds themselves and kicking some to those providing the clips on which the finished work is built. It would be nice to see musicshake include Creative Commons licensing, but there was no mention of this today.

Two companies who either are or are contemplating offering Creative Commons licensing are docstoc and AOL's BlueString (mentioned above). docstoc, which blends document storage with sharing and social networking, bakes in Creative Commons licensing à la Flickr, and BlueString's terms advise users that they "may" have the option to apply a Creative Commons license to what they put on the site.

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