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January 29, 2007 | Filed under: Random Thoughts

Get yourself a cup of coffee, block out an hour of your diary and watch this: 7 Ways to Ruin a Technological Revolution. It is a Google Talk given by James Boyle about the tension between new law and new technology. The argument is clear and entertaining and worth the time if you make technology that may, at any time, touch intellectual propery rights. Hint: If you are making stuff for the Internet, this is hard to avoid. 

There is a funny anecdote in there from a discussion with someone from a collection society where Boyle suggested that there are still some private places where fair use can apply to the enjoyment of music - like the shower. The reply: "That's just a problem with monitoring."

Two big ideas that resonated for me:

IP law (and lobbying, let's face it!) only looks at the cost and not the benefit.  If a new business model emerges in which more sales are generated but there is also an increase in free use of the media, isn't that good? Apparently not, and all we hear about is the increase in "piracy".  I don't know how many times I have had this discussion.

Another problem is concentrating on outputs with no recognition of inputs. When we debate about video, music, photography, we are talking about acts of creativity. These acts need inspiration, raw materials, ingredients. If every transaction (even singing in the shower!) has to be monitored and monetized, the vines will shrivel up and die.

I haven't done Boyle justice in my description of his talk so please check it out for yourself.

Thanks Anthony, for sending me the link.

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