Web 2.0 Bill of Rights: free content, users control, Websites are public goods

Web 2.0 Bill of Rights: free content, users control, Websites are public goods

Summary: The Bill of Rights has not been amended to guarantee Web 2.0 users free happiness.

SHARE:
10

The Bill of Rights has NOT been amended to reflect Web 2.0 conventional wisdom that:

1) content owners have no right to compensation,

2) non-paying users of commercial services control decision making at the services,

3) Web 2.0 properties are public goods, not private enterprises, and exist as Web 2.0 “philanthropies” to provide free content and services to the Web 2.0 “community.”

DMM91506BR.jpg

This week two financially savvy CEO powerhouses, Doug Morris of Universal Music Group (UMG) and Peter Chernin of News Corp., let it be known publicly that the Web 2.0 free ride is coming to an end. Morris and Doug participated in the Merrill Lynch Media & Entertainment Conference earlier this week and their comments have been widely reported.

Morris is not satisfied with a 1980’s MTV style sweet deal of free content provisioning in exchange for intangible “exposure.” UMG is determined, this go around, to get the tangible “tens of millions of dollars” it is legally entitled to for use of the content it owns:

The poster child for this was MTV. Twenty-five years ago, they built a multibillion-dollar company on our software. They received the software for virtually nothing. We learned a hard lesson.

Recently, companies like Yahoo! and AOL started video on demand running ads between our videos. We asked for payment; they said no. We took down our videos and they said yes. Now we share in their advertising revenue.

Why does YouTube continue to enable the uploading and hosting of unauthorized content? If Yahoo and AOL are respecting their legal obligation to compensate content owners, why can’t YouTube? YouTube might even be acquired by Yahoo or AOL, what would happen then?

Chernin is also frustrated that YouTube is gaining more than it is giving:

If you look at virtually any Web 2.0 application, whether its YouTube, whether it’s Flicker, whether it’s Photobucket or any of the next-generation Web applications, almost all of them are really driven off the back of MySpace. There’s no reason why we can’t build a parallel business…

Given that most of their traffic comes from us, if we build adequate, if not superior, competitors, I think we ought to be able to match them, if not exceed them.

Rather than being applauded for sound and competitive business practices, however, the execs and the companies they lead are being labeled “fuddy-duddies” and derided, often in a very graphic fashion.

Jeff Jarvis:

These dimwits just don’t get it: YouTube and MySpace and blogs and the internet are their new distribution and sales channels. Want to cut off your noses to spite your faces? Fine. Here’s the knife.

This is your audience you want to attack, fool. They are marketing and distributing your music for you. Don’t want them to? Fine. Plenty more where you came from.

Morris also went after MySpace. And MySpace’s owner, Fox’s Peter Chernin, went after YouTube as well, arguing that MySpace sends traffic to YouTube and so MySpace should hold YouTube by the balls.

Fool, it’s not YouTube that’s doing this. It’s not MySpace that’s doing this. It’s the people. You don’t control these services; they do. And if you try to control them, they’ll show you who’s holding whom by the balls. They’ve leave. You’ll be left holding the ball and not much else.

YouTube is distributing UMG’s music, but it is doing it free of charge, without authorization and without financial benefit to UMG. Moreover, YouTube is using UMG’s content to further its commercial objectives without compensating the content owner for its use.

MySpace users in control? They’ll leave? To where, to do what? The MySpace “balls” are costly; News Corp. supports MySpace operations to the tune of tens of millions of dollars annually. Will MySpace’s 100 million human, animal and product “friends” pool their resources and start-up their own space?

Perhaps they’ll just do what their educated Facebook brethren did in face of service changes imposed upon them by those who do control Facebook (CEO Zuckerberg and his VCs): effortless, inconsequential turnkey online “protest petitions.”

ALSO SEE:
YouTube, MySpace at risk: UMG seeks millions of dollars from 'copyright infringers'
MySpace and its 100 million unfriendly problems
Students to Facebook: More turnkey online 'protest petitions'?
Facebook to students: Zuckerberg and VCs are in control
Web 2.0 'users in control': Of who, and to what means?
Facebook 'activism': how about a greater good?
Homework for Facebook students: hack your own social network!

Topic: Social Enterprise

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

10 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Arrogance as big as mountains

    Traditional content owners must realize that our society was established under the precept that it is the individual (or what we call consumer) who is supreme, and it is he who lends power for the formation of the government and other organizations. It is the consumer who is ultimately in charge. What these guys are doing (going after customers) is virtually unthinkable in other industries. You never attack your customers unless you want to destroy yourselves. The perspective of the entertainment industry is greatly warped, and points to the fact that it needs competition. Companies need to craft their businesses around what the consumer wants, and can?t be trying to kick the consumer around ? particularly with the advent of the Internet.

    The arrogance of traditional media is immense, but it will be shattered by developments on Internet which will empower the consumer, and the artists and organizations who respond to them.
    P. Douglas
    • Not consumers

      If someone isn't buying your product, they are not a consumer nor
      are they a customer, so stop with the stupid strawman that content
      owners are attacking their customers by going after people
      bootlegging their product.
      frgough
      • Yes, consumers

        [i]If someone isn't buying your product, they are not a consumer nor
        are they a customer, so stop with the stupid strawman that content
        owners are attacking their customers by going after people
        bootlegging their product.[/i]

        Trying to force DRM down the throats of people who pay for your products in an effort to control their behavior, is attacking your customers as far as I'm concerned.
        P. Douglas
      • Actually they are going after FanVideos

        YouTube only hosts video. What they are going after are FanVideos, which in some cases may arguably be considered parody and thus fall under fair use and not infringing.

        Assuming the fan bought the CD or otherwise legally obtained the music to do the FanVideo, they in fact are customers.

        So the bootleg theory is out in this case. Depending on whether or not the video engages in significant criticism of the work , and only a judge can make that determination, it may fall under fair use and would not be infringing.

        To further complicate this even if they issue a notice to YouTube and YouTube takes it down, if the poster responds with a proper counter-notice that they in good faith believe the video is not infringing (Due to it being parody thus falling under fair use), YouTube/MySpace would have to put the video back up within 15 days or the poster could sue YouTube/MySpace.
        Edward Meyers
  • Ignorance as deep as a valley

    "This is your audience you want to attack, fool. They are marketing and distributing your music for you. Don?t want them to? Fine. Plenty more where you came from."

    The above quote illustrates the essential flaw in the reasoning.

    When it comes to content creation -- there really aren't "plenty more" -- at least not of equal quality. Art is difficult and demanding -- and not everyone can create it. And of those that can create it, only a tiny fraction can create ~good~ art. And of those, only a tiny, tiny fraction create great art.

    The people who create art -- as well as the people who finance that creation -- deserve, morally and legally, to be compensated for their efforts. The internet won't change that.
    pkstephens
    • If you don't like the consumer, then stop trying sell stuff to him

      [i]When it comes to content creation -- there really aren't "plenty more" -- at least not of equal quality. Art is difficult and demanding -- and not everyone can create it. And of those that can create it, only a tiny fraction can create ~good~ art. And of those, only a tiny, tiny fraction create great art.

      The people who create art -- as well as the people who finance that creation -- deserve, morally and legally, to be compensated for their efforts. The internet won't change that.[/i]

      The fact of the matter is that people establish industries in societies that are willing to support them. If a society is not willing to support an industry the way many in the industry would like, then maybe it is time for that industry to go. Like I said, the consumer ultimately calls the shots. A person cannot move a hot dog stand onto a street corner, then curse the neighborhood he is trying to do business in. The person either has to adapt to the way the neighborhood believes it is okay to sell his hot dogs, or he has to move his hot dog stand elsewhere.

      With the above in mind, the consumer in many other industries has shown that he is reasonable. Media therefore have to come to terms with the way the consumers want to media exist, or else find something else to do. Just about everyone knows that it is a complete and utter lie that media needs DRM protection to be sold successfully. So enough with the rhetoric. Traditional media are simply control freaks who want to shackle the consumer to do things the way they think they should be done, when media?s very existence is at the behest of the consumer.
      P. Douglas
    • Not really

      This is mostly about people making unauthorized derivatives of their work... Mostly FanVideos. In many cases an argument for fair use could be made as the resulting product is clearly parody, that criticizes the work itself.

      Actually some of the parodies on YouTube are quite good. Its a shame that the kids that created them most likely can't afford a lawyer to complete a lawsuit to get the court to rule that they indeed are parodies that fall under fair use.
      Edward Meyers
  • Not so stupid.

    The media companies have given stupidity a bad name.
    The internet distribution channel opened, and the $ billions waiting for the companies supplying content were easy to obtain.

    The company executives decided they preferred older distribuition channels, and determined that the internet was useless without their consent. So if they ignored the internet it would go away.
    The public grew p2p in response.

    Here, though, the content companies are willing to accept money for internet distribution. And they see other companies making money from their products. Profits should be shared among those making the profits possible.

    Let's not discourage a moment of clarity from the content companies.
    Anton Philidor
  • Rights and what's right

    This Belgian development points up an increasingly plain fact:
    Google's business model involves ?making money on other
    peoples content,? and now that the company's proved that
    business model is workable, it's going to have to build workable
    rights and payment models, too.

    The company's deal with the Associated Press looks a lot like a
    tacit acknowledgment of this. (And of the old adage about the
    squeaky wheel.) So in its way does YouTube's Warner music
    announcement this week. The market, it becomes increasingly
    apparent, is there. The technology for tracking clicks, views, and
    ad impressions certainly is.

    And consumers are game for the ad-supported model--so now
    it's a matter of Google understanding that fair play and good
    business require the compensation of copyright-holders
    somehow. This Belgian court decision, like the AFP lawsuit from
    last year, is going to keep the pressure on until it does
    understand.

    To put it another way: Doesn't this remind you a lot of the
    Napster/music-sharing hair-pulling? That catfight was all about
    attacking customers and ethics and morals and purism and
    hand-waving--until Apple came up with a simple, workable
    music-download service that made payments easy. Suddenly the
    old truths weren't quite so true anymore, and a new business
    norm was born.
    JeffCrigler
  • RE: Web 2.0 Bill of Rights: free content, users control, Websites are public goods

    http://www.analogstereo.com/mercedes_s_class_owners_manual.htm
    cro_forum@...