Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Digital rights management

It says something about the state of the UK mainstream media, and about the UK publishing industry, if I relate that it took a mention on the Creative Commons (CC) blog for me to find out that the UK has an All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG) which has recently published a report on digital rights management.

The report's main recommendations, described by CC as 'strong and welcome' are summarised on Boing Boing. It is not altogether surprising that Boing Boing is better informed than I am when you discover that the post is written by Cory Doctorow, who is, among many other things, 'a proud co-founder and advisory board member for the UK Open Rights Group'.

Anyone sufficiently clued up on digital matters, and sufficiently interested in publishing, as to be reading this blog, really ought to spend a few minutes absorbing what CC, Cory Doctorow, and APIG have to say. It's essential reading, really -- and I don't say that often. And Mr Doctorow pays us UK guys a nice compliment. Not that I deserve any of the credit, I hasten to say.

Thank God there are some people out there who are thinking a bit more broadly than how to make the maximum income out of poor old Winnie the Pooh (see yesterday).

The CC blog notes that the APIG Report dismisses the big rights holders' statement that creators and performers do not always understand what they are 'giving away for ever' under CC licenses (typical big company bullshit). The Report adds:
Although artists should naturally consider these matters, we suspect that these licenses are clearer than many media industry contracts. Also, should it become commonplace for bands to use Creative Commons licenses at an early stage of their career, then as they become successful and sign with a record company, the industry approach to 'exclusivity' will doubtless be tempered by the new reality.
Tempered by the new reality? Don't bet on it. Big business will change its attitude to DRM only if someone hits them over the head with a steel bar, many times. Meanwhile, sensible people, particularly those who understand that creators' and performers' chief problem is obscurity, will take up the CC licence, offer their work for free, and get themselves known.


Anonymous said...

I admit I'm holding my breath in fear that the Creative Commons concept will be swept into so many arguments and discussions that it will become as horribly convoluted as the dreadful copyright system that has stifled creativity for too many years. I like your reference to "sensible people," and I hope they prevail to protect this new concept from being hopelessly distorted. I don't know how many sensible people are out there with enough money to battle off the power brokers.

Anonymous said...

Though not a copyright expert, it seems to me that creative commons is useful for enthusiastic amateurs, rather than would be professionals.

My flickr photos are creative commons, as is my blog, but I haven't released any of my fiction under a cc license.