The other day I fired off about the moribund music industry shifting its target from downloads to target lyrics websites, in essence offering to litigate them into oblivion. But I was wrong about their attitude.
The music business knows one thing better than anything else on the planet; money. How coincidental that 36 hours after they launch their latest assault on the Internet and its capabilities, comes this little gem from Frank Barnako. Searches Of 2005: Music Lyrics, Paris Hilton
A Web service that returns results from several leading search engines announced the most popular Internet search terms of 2005 included music lyrics, Paris Hilton, poetry, and names and their meanings.
Jon Nolz, director of marketing for InfoSpace Inc.'s (INSP) Dogpile.com said, "Seeing 'lyrics' in the No. 1 position is surprising given the number of huge headline news events over the year, but points to what online search is all about, finding information that does not have a readily known source."
Just as they salivated over getting paid for every "illegal" download, so now they are licking their lips at being paid for every copy of every lyric of every song. First shut down the free sites, then put all the lyrics, even the ones that are out of copyright, behind a paid login and behold, instant profit in the billions. Open champagne, order new Ferrari, dance on table top.
Oh, and don't think you can get round it with technology either.
Via Kos comes this little rundown on yet another attempt to force manufacturers to force users to pay, pay and pay again. We will own nothing, we will only ever rent content and our use of it will be totally controlled by the "content industry" and to hell with any concept of cultural development or freedom of expression. The new motto appears to be, Pay up, or live in silence.
The Digital Transition Content Security Act is a gift to the music and movie industries, requiring electronics manufacturers to put a "big brother"-style chip in their products that prevents us from making the legal and fair personal copies of TV shows, music, and movies we make today.
From the article: all consumer electronics video devices manufactured more than 12 months after the DTCSA is passed to be able to detect and obey a "rights signaling system" that would be used to limit how content is viewed and used. ... it would be illegal to "manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide or otherwise traffic" in products that circumvent the law.
Once the MPAA and pals have their way, you're going to pay through the nose for even the most basic of Fair Use rights. You're going to pay for the right to rewind and "re-experience" content. The Copy Prohibited Content class, complete with its asinine insta-delete feature is nothing but a back door into attacking what the content industry hates most: your ability to timeshift content.
Here are the 'rights' you get:
Copy Prohibited Content, which would mark the transmission as off limits for copying or recording of any kind Copy Unlimited No Redistribution Content, which means that the analog content could be passed through to a digital device for copying, but redistribution would be limited Copy One Generation Content, which would allow viewers to make a single generation of copies No Technical Protection Applied, programming that could still be recorded. The DTCSA gives you all of 90 minutes from the initial reception of a "unit of content" to watch your recordings. Heaven forbid you get a long phone call or an unscheduled visit from a neighbor when you're engaged in some delayed viewing—once that 90-minute window closes you're out of luck until the next broadcast.
The new bill is a rehash of the one we first mentioned on Halloween. It would impose strict legal controls on any video analog to digital (A/D) converters "manufacture[d], imported or otherwise traffic[ed]" in the United States. Digitizers and digital media devices that won't jump through the specified outrageous regulatory hoops - automatically deleting protected analog content after ninety minutes; outputting only "down-rezzed" images, and satisfying "robustness criteria" that weld the hood shut against user modification and open source developers - are expected to simply turn off and refuse to convert watermark-protected analog video. And how is this analog video protected? Using an old broadcast-flag like technology called CGMS-A and a new watermarking system called VEIL.
Public Knowledge -- from their analysis:
Analog Hole - This convoluted and lengthy statute (delivered to us two days prior to the hearing) would require that all devices capable of turning an analog video signal into a digital video signal be forced to recognize and enforce two forms of content protection. This would negatively affect the design of everything from video cameras to certain hospital equipment. Public Knowledge opposes this horrible technology mandate and Gigi made our position clear during the hearing, noting that event the content industry itself had argued that the analog hole was a safety valve for fair use under the strictures of the DMCA. It was also clear that the proponents of the bill didn't fully understand it themselves.
Me. I'm a little more sanguine. I think of culture as a "meme pool", a set of freely circulating ideas, concepts and artefacts with which we interact and, when enough of us interact with them, they become part of the concept we call "culture". It is not fixed, it is not controlled, it mutates and evolves using whatever resources are most freely available. If this rubbish is enacted and enforced, then the culture of the future will no longer consist of the "content" that is locked away, but rather of the content that is freely available.
Those creative people who tag their content with Creative Commons licenses that enable or encourage widespread access, adoption and re-use, will be the parents, those whose ideas are locked out of the meme pool will vanish. These idiots are choosing to destroy the foundation on which their own futures depend. Cultural content, however you define it, is the DNA of social organisations, and like DNA, it has faced, and will face mass extinctions where 95% of the variety and diversity vanishes. But in the end, that 5% refills every possible niche with new species.
The only question creative people need to ask is whether they want to vote themselves into the dinosaur class.