A Post PIPA Post

On my way from a breakfast meeting to the office yesterday I got a phone call on my cell phone with a 202 area code on it. I picked up the call and on the other end of the line was someone in Congress who I've known for a decade or more. He told me that the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was going to pull the PIPA bill in about thirty minutes. He also told me that the technology/Internet community had done a great job fighting the SOPA and PIPA bills and that the fight was over for now. I thanked him for the call and then I told him that we need to find a different way to address the online piracy problem because otherwise the technology community was in for a game of whack a mole with the content industry every year or two with our elected officials getting caught in the middle. He agreed.

I'm not in the mood to celebrate in the wake of the news that SOPA and PIPA are dead. Because the online piracy issue is still very much on the table and the content industry is not going to just walk away from the it. And as I've said in most every post on this issue, I am sympathetic to their concerns.

I think what Anonymous did in the wake of the Megaupload shutdown is deplorable and I am not a fan of vigilantes and mob rule. In stark contrast,  I am extremely proud of the online demonstrations we all participated in over the past month to change the mood in Washington over the two bills. We showed that the Internet can be a medium for "peaceful demonstration" and we do not need and should not resort to stunts like Anonymous pulled this week.

I'd like to make a couple points about this whole SOPA/PIPA fight and then go on to where we go from here.

First, the Internet community's opposition to these two bills was never coordinated by a central organization. When my partner Albert first raised the alarm bells on what was then called COICA back in September 2010, we could not find anyone other than a few policy wonks who had this on their list of issues. Our industry does not have an MPAA or an RIAA. For the past 15 months we have been working with various individuals, a few companies, and a few advocacy groups to fight these bills. We found each other over the Internet, coordinated efforts (or not) over the Internet, and used the Internet to protect the Internet. The opposition was chaotic, distributed, diverse, uncoordinated and extremely effective in the end. Just like the Internet.

Second, these two bills were drafted by the MPAA and the RIAA and walked into Washington without an iota of conversation with the technology industry. I can't tell you how many Senators and Representatives have told me that they were told by the MPAA and the RIAA that the technology industry was on board and that these issues would not impact the Internet and tech community adversely. This is no way for one industry to propose that Congress regulate another industry. I think it is absurd that one industry would have the arrogance to think it is appropriate to ask Congress to regulate another industry for them. And yet that is what went down on these bills.

So where do we go from here? I think we should come up with an entirely new framework to think about online piracy. The PIPA/SOPA framework was litgation heavy and very invasive. It was "we are going to do this to you." It's not surprising the tech industry didn't like it one bit.

We need a new framework that is based on a shared set of goals and objectives. The tech industry will benefit if the content industry makes more money online. And though they seem not to believe it, the content industry can make a lot more money online. So we should be able to get alignment around that issue. We can help each other. The tech industry has already helped the content industy many many times. On that topic, I love this Nat Torkington rant:

All I can think is: we gave you the Internet. We gave you the Web. We gave you MP3 and MP4. We gave you e-commerce, micropayments, PayPal, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, the iPad, the iPhone, the laptop, 3G, wifi–hell, you can even get online while you're on an AIRPLANE. 

So I've been busy over the past few days thinking about a framework that is based on a partnership between the content and technology industries. I have a bunch of ideas on this and I've heard a number of good ideas from others in the past few days as well. I have no doubt that a group of leaders from the tech community would be happy to sit down with the content industry and come up with an entirely new way to think about and address online piracy. But before that happens, the content industry, as represented by the MPAA and the RIAA, needs to understand that a litigation heavy invasive approach will not fly and they need to forget about that framework and come ready to come up with an entirely new one. I hope they can do that.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Harry DeMott

    AS long as the content industries control the production of content, and demand an undue level of control over the distribution of that content, it will always be tough to get into the same room and have a rational discussion – and I’ve certainly been in the room with them from time to time over the past 20 years.It’s like an auto company making a car, and then sitting in the showroom explaining to someone who wants to buy the car how they can use it – perhaps only once every 24 hours – and only on designated toll roads offering the best kickback to the manufacturer – and there’s no resale to the car whatsoever.A tough conversation.As I ‘ve said before in comments here – I don’t believe that the MPAA and RIAA really believe that they can’t make more money through the use of technology, it is just that the initial step on the road to making a lot more money is a big step backwards to making a lot LESS money – and that is something that public corporations tend not to want to do in any way.Enjoy the snow day!

    1. reece

      great point about the content guys knowing they CAN use technology… it’s really their business models that they’re fearful of changingi have friends in Hollywood who believe in the ability of “anti-piracy” tech which is pretty laughable 

    2. ShanaC

      Sounds like classic innovator’s dilemma to me…

      1. Harry DeMott

        It is. The big guys won’t innovate much and will resist innovation to milk the old system as hard as they can. The problem is that there is no real “good enough” to replace Hollywood. Sure, people say it is easier to get around the system, but hard to replace Inception or Harry Potter without a ton of $ behind you. It might get easier over time – and I’ve no doubt there are plenty of creative people out there – but it will take longer and longer to get this done.

        1. ShanaC

          You’re telling me. I was supposed to go film friday to be an extra on a web tv show. They want to disrupt that market…yeah..I’m all pessimistic because climbing out of that innovator’s dilemma seems near impossible to me (for the reasons you mentioned). Do I really want to watch ehhh web tv – no. But ehh needs to happen before the good stuff does.- posted via http://engag.io

        2. Bala

          I believe Inception or Harry Potter can be made without ton of $, technology does make it easier now a days. It just take a single hit like Toy Story to make Pixar a startup to be gobbled up by a Content Creator. I think the innovators dilemma is going to diminish the power of Hollywood studios unless they embrace this change and start investing in it. If everyone becomes a content creator then those who control the gate on content creation are going to have to loose. I was seeing a fantastic band play here in Iceland called Of Monsters and Of Men, they got signed by Universal Records recently and are going on tour in 2012 in the US and Canada… how did a small band out of Iceland get discovered like this? YouTube. I am sure the deal they signed has made the band a slave to Universal but it is only a matter of time before the lawyers on the Creator’s side become more aggressive.

          1. Harry DeMott

            I’ve thought a lot about the Innovators Dilemma, the long tail economics of media – and how they would be applied to Hollywood. I think that longer tail economics can break down entrenched competitors quicker if the cost of producing something that is “good enough” is low. So Of Monsters and Men playing in Iceland and creating there is a good example of a product that has a low production cost – and a very low cost of distribution. It has an even lower cost of discovery for a user on the other end of the YouTube stream. Give me 3 minutes of time and I will figure out whether or not I think the song is worthy of more attention or not – from a sonic standpoint – it is the same as anything on youtube put up there by U2 – so the only thing a listener is qualifying is the music itself. With professional video content – it is quite different. You are judging the script, the story, the aural characteristics of the video, the acting, the effects, the music etc…. There are just so many other factors – all of which weight against the small time creator. Sure things are getting easier and cheaper – but there is still a significant barrier to producing great video content on a regular basis – as opposed to music, where everyone has access to 90% of the same equipment and facilities.I fear Hollywood is more entrenched than Universal Music.

          2. Bala

            Agreed but don’t you think it is a matter of time before the “small time” player figures it out? IMHO, even Steven Spielberg was once a small time director, with the tools and technology that is available now, you can hack a really good product cost effectively. The marketing and buzz machine of Hollywood is big but it is dwarfed by the Social Media revolution that we are seeing. I don’t mean to disagree but I think this disruption is going to happen and it is already happening. My 8 year old daughter usually watches TV on saturday mornings, you know the usual suspects Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon etc  guess what she is now watching Youtube videos created by “small time” producers using the Angry Birds characters and Funny Animals… it may sound silly but she is the next generation and they are distribution convenience of the Internet vs the TV/Movie theatres etc.

  2. JimHirshfield

    Amen. Well said.Is there any indication that the content industry is open to different approaches? History says they stick to their guns.

    1. fredwilson

      that is where i am turning my attention. partnerships are made by effort. you know that all too well Jim.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Indeed, partnerships are key. And partnerships are based on trust and mutual benefit. Right now they see tech as a means for masses to steal their content (i.e., no trust; no benefit). Megaupload scam doesn’t help tech’s side.So this is a religious conversion for them, replete with sacrifice, blood, and resurrection. We’re on the same page in that I think your view is to convert through educating and innovating….honey, not vinegar.(I think I really missed a great conversation here – first to comment, but had to shovel snow and go sledding with my boy, lunch, etc….don’t see how I can catch up on 140+ comments!! But I love this topic…there’s so much potential).

        1. Dale Allyn

          Going sledding with your son is a high-value exchange! You win! 🙂

          1. JimHirshfield

            Ha! Indeed.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          The comments will be here for a long time.  You captured a moment that won’t.  Good on you.

          1. JimHirshfield


      2. Bala

        Hey Fred, I am sure you are talking to Mark Suster… here are a couple of posts that he wrote which I think are relevant to this discussion:http://www.bothsidesoftheta… thishttp://www.bothsidesoft… I think if you, Mark and rest of the VC who are investing in distruption technologies raise the discussion to the big content creators you will definitely get their ears.

  3. Anne Libby

    “The opposition was chaotic, distributed, diverse, uncoordinated and extremely effective in the end.”I hope that as we move towards a better solution on piracy, we retain some of this effective mess.   This is what innovation looks like, and it’s what democracy looks like.And I appreciate your thought that it’s early to celebrate.   Nonetheless, I appreciate the efforts of people who took all kinds of leadership to invite participation, from providing info to providing tech support.  (I was as happy as a second grader when I figured out how to get Sara Chipps’ code working on my website.)

    1. fredwilson

      i saw sara the day of the protests. i thanked her for her work. it was great.

  4. John Revay

    Just watched MSNBC show – commentator (Chris Hayes) had a line something like  – “People value speech over commercialism”Edit – added Chris Hayes name

  5. Jon Matonis

    Copyrights and patents are State-sanctioned monopoly privilege. Information yearns to be ‘free’. See “Against Intellectual Property” by Stephan Kinsella at http://mises.org/journals/j…Even your blog here wisely utilizes Creative Commons.

  6. Joshua Baer

    Maybe it’s time we had our own trade organization to lobby for us. But the question is, who are “we”?

    1. jason wright

      Not necessary. The interweb is the organization.If the content industry supporters of POPA were smart they would understand this central point and harness it instead of hindering it. The penny will eventually drop, but perhaps not until some of the luminaries of that industry have also dropped…dead.

    2. reece

      yeah i’m not in love with the ideacentralized power = bad

  7. jason wright

    “The opposition was chaotic, distributed, diverse, uncoordinated and extremely effective in the end.” The opposition to ‘POPA’ was all of these things. They are necessary characteristics of the essential virtue of the campaign – reach.  Marshall McLuhan would no doubt have pointed out to the supporters of POPA the delicious irony, that the medium is the (new) message.

    1. fredwilson


  8. Brandon Burns

    thanks to the many members of the AVC community who played a role in keeping the Internet free. *applause*

    1. fredwilson

      yes indeed

  9. Rohan

    Coming from a land that believes in peaceful demonstrations, I’m beginning to see the tremendous power in them. Thanks to Brad, who seems to have been the ‘linchpin’ of this movement. And great job everyone.

    1. fredwilson

      i really should have called out my partner Brad in this post. but he doesn’t want to be in the limelight. he has provided much of the thought leadership to USV, this blog, and the anti SOPA/PIPA stuff. 

      1. Rohan

        You know, Fred – I was wondering why you didn’t. I only came to know thanks to the other Brad’s (Feld :)) post/Albert’s post that it was Brad Burnham who first began raising flags. I figured you had your reasons.Credit where it is due though. 🙂 And it’s great that you have someone like him. Such folks form a key part of our support system. When things are well, no one even knows that they exist. But, boy, when they aren’t there, it shows..

  10. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    Lawyers are a BIG special interest group in Washington, most laws are drafted by them, and the legal industry produces quite a few of our elected officials.I am THRILLED when I read lines like this:”So I’ve been busy over the past few days thinking about a framework that is based on a partnership between the content and technology industries…”If we are to achieve anything in the 21st Century, then we need to be thinking about collaboration and partnerships with technology and other industries; rather than seeing technology as a threat, which breeds the idea that change is a threat, those of us in the “old economy” need to see technology as a friend, as a bridge to the future, not as a threat.The other side of the coin of the issue is that not all change is good; idealism can be just another word for nightmares.

    1. jason wright

      For too long the traditional content industry has lived by one simple motto – ‘kiss my ass’.

      1. leeward

        The traditional content industry was almost unique in how it universally limited competition in various ways for decades. I know this idea has been floated here thoroughly but when scarcity for an FCC signal was overtaken by streaming (and mp3’s) and the initial investment of newspapers and magazines was nullified, then the market was destined to very different competitive dynamics. These were the larger titans of the business community being upset.This fight is not over by a mile. I submit it is only beginning and the next rounds will be nastier and involve even more cronyism (x5). Put the corks back in the bottle.

      2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Jason, terms like “traditional” or “content industry” are nice sounding but quite ill defined.I read books, lots of books, and as “content” I am overwhelmed. I am also glad to see that Apple and the textbook publishers are joining forces:http://www.zdnet.com/blog/m…If you mean by “content industry” the movies, television, and music, well, I would agree with you, BUT I think it is the quality rather than the quantity and quality is a reflection of mass appeal and thus what appeals to the masses obviously doesn’t appeal to me.Since I have not been in a movie theatre since Lion King was a first run movie and as I am now busy replacing cable with Boxee, I guess I have just told the content industry to “kiss my ass” but I doubt they will miss me.

    2. fredwilson


  11. Rohan

    And I just thought I’d wish a very special person in this community a very happy birthday today.To our marketing guru, wine aficionado and great friend..Happy birthday Arnold @awaldstein! 🙂 Thank you for all the wisdom, the many insightful questions and comments. Here’s to another great year. We’re never older, only better, after all.. 🙂

    1. tyronerubin

      Happy bday Arnold @awaldsteinalways love your comments sir!

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks Tyrone.

    2. fredwilson

      i think he’s skiing. what a great way to celebrate a birthday

      1. Rohan


      2. awaldstein

        I will ski the Ridge @ Bell on Monday and think of you Fred.

        1. fredwilson

          you know that’s my favorite run in the world

          1. awaldstein

            I did actually. This is my third Bday in Aspen that I’ve been active in the avc community so it’s come up before.

    3. Aaron Klein

      Indeed, a very happy birthday to our resident marketing and community expert. @awaldstein:disqus gives a lot to this community. Hope you’re having a wonderful birthday celebration.

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks Aaron.avc is a living community experience. It’s a privilege to be able to contribute.

    4. John Revay

      Happy Birthday Arnold,Skiing, Organic wine and a green smoothie.Enjoy your day

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks John.Funny the first green smoothie bar just opened in Aspen. I have one waiting for me each day.This green movement is still small but growing with intensity.

    5. Donna Brewington White

      Well, Ro, in the spirit of @awaldstein:disqus ‘s pet passion — or one of them, sometimes older truly IS better.  Hey, Arnold, I hope you are thoroughly enjoying Aspen and this day.Happy Birthday to a marketer and a gentleman!  

      1. Rohan

        Heh. Not sometimes. Many times! :DIt’s all in our mind!

      2. awaldstein

        Thanks Donna. I brought the wine from home to drink and with some snow on mountains finally, all is great.

    6. ShanaC

      really, well Happy Birthday Arnold.  May you live to 120.

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks. I’ll take 20 more years in the middle.

    7. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      Happy Birthday to Arnold!

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks Carl.

    8. awaldstein

      Thanks Rohan.

  12. reece

    a seemingly natural next step is for the online industry to create some sort of organization like the MPAA or RIAA, but i fear that is a terrible move… centralizing power is rarely the answer

    1. William Carleton

      If the tech community could turn its attention to payola politics, the end result could be reform of the very manner in which legislation is written and policy is implemented. Imagine legislation being written, not by interest groups, but crowdsourced and otherwise leveraging available knowledge with the goal of serving the common interest.The tech community has the skills to topple the current, corporatist shadow of democracy that would shame our nation’s founders.”Getting smarter” with how the Congress of today works, organizing within that system, establishing outposts on K Street, perpetuating the corrupt system and getting used to paying the indirect tax of campaign contributions, year after year after year – I hope #Occupy has taught us that we can expect more of ourselves than that.

    2. kidmercury

      there already is such centralized institutions — amazon, google, apple. platforms are the new governments.  

      1. jason wright

        They’re not the new governments. They’re the new churches. All believing in god, but each wanting the huddled masses to pray at their particular alter.The POPA supporters have essentially been attempting to re enact the scene between the Catholic Church and Galileo – history repeating itself is the lesson of history. The lesson for POPA supporters is that Galileo’s message was undeniable.

        1. kidmercury

          There is a fine line between govt and religion, so these companies have elements of both. The true distinction is rule by force which govt has the ability to do, as do internet platforms via their control of technology

          1. jason wright

            I think governments know only too well the very real limitations of the force they can apply. Many rulers have fallen after making that mistake. History is a great teacher. 

          2. kidmercury

            Yes and the current govts will fall for the same reason, and platforms that are too forceful will fall in time for the same reasons as well

        2. fredwilson

          The new churchesI like that

          1. Otto

            I prefer decentralized spontaneous social order that voluntarily networks and associates with each other. Church implies worship, I don’t worship Google or Steve Jobs.

      2. reece

        ha. fair point

    3. JLM

      To fight the centralized power of what happens under the Capitol dome, you have to have a national viewpoint and organization.It is regrettable but it is necessary.

      1. reece

        for the sake of discussion, do you need a centralized “power” or just a centralized “message”?could argue that in the case of SOPA/PIPA we had decentralized power, but unity in the message across all those involved and that’s what worked… 

        1. LE

          “do you need a centralized “power” or just a centralized “message”?”I don’t think you can have a centralized message without someone in charge, a centralized power. Otherwise you end up with what happened to the occupy movement (to use the low hanging fruit example).Has drawbacks but I feel it’s necessary.

          1. reece

            but on the flip side you had “stop SOPA/PIPA” – decentralized power, focused message…

          2. LE

            True but it remains to be seen whether that is an outlier or something repeatable. My feeling is that it is not repeatable on any consistent basis.To defeat the enemy everyone has to be rowing to the same captain.It also allows you to leverage and efficiently use any money raised between stakeholders for offensive and defensive purposes.

          3. reece

            good point re: money, but in a perfect world, money shouldn’t affect politics(yes, i know this is naive and utopian)

          4. JLM

            The Occupy Whatever is one of the greatest head fakes in the history of the US.Last night I had folks in town from Savannah and we had a little TexMex and then went by the Occupy Austin movement at our lovely City Hall.It was all of the bums who usually sleep in the park sleeping on the steps (covered steps mind you) of the City Hall with a few cops in attendance.Austin has spent over $125K in overtime minding this unwashed and odoriferous manufactured moblet.A joke.

        2. JLM

          It’s always the message.  And like any exercise of power, it is not the reality, it is the perception.Look at the power of these scary Super PACs — in a single election cycle they have completely dwarfed the campaign message of all of the candidates.They are all fictitious organizations with big checkbooks.It takes money to message.  Message is the real power.  It takes money to send out a powerful message.

          1. LE

            “scary Super PACs “That was on TV the other night. I don’t remember if it was “Rock Center” or 20/20 or whatever. Doesn’t matter.Greatly benefits the traditional media. A local Radio station manager interviewed couldn’t contain his joy. Wait till it hits network advertising and national newspapers. Must be having a great effect on media stocks I would imagine. 

          2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            “t takes money to message.  Message is the real power.  It takes money to send out a powerful message.”Thus money is the real power….

          3. JLM

            Ideas are the real power but it takes money to communicate ideas.

          4. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            Then politics is the worst place to spend any money because they have no ideas to communicate.It might be time for politics to take an idea from OWS…The human microphonehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wik…

    4. fredwilson

      i don’t think that is the answerbut we are working on an advocacy group based on a much broader agenda that we call “freedom to innovate”the internet is all about the freedom to innovate. we would like to promote that notion as a generator of wealth an prosperity more broadly

      1. reece

        cool. i’m in

  13. Eduarte Duarte

    Fred,Why not build an equivalent organization like MPAA or RIAA in order to protect Internet Businesses interests? It would help to fight threats like SOPA in a more effective way in the future.Thanks

    1. matthughes

      I prefer the ” chaotic, distributed, diverse, uncoordinated and extremely effective in the end…” approach.An organizing body could have some perks but by in large the de-centralized structure (albeit with a very clear objective) is more representative of the Internet.

    2. fredwilson

      i think a slightly different approach makes sense for our industry. but we are talking a lot about this. more to come.



  14. Dale Allyn

    Very well said, Fred. And thanks for your (and USV’s) active participation in working to strike this bad legislation down. As I spoke with many friends about this issue, it was disconcerting how few people really new that the SOPA/PIPA kerfuffle was even going on, let alone taking a stand on the issue. Of course in the latest days it became more common knowledge. I’ve vowed to help keep my non-tech friends better apprised of such issues and how it affects their lives. One area which concerns me is that part of the “Stop SOPA” crowd, of which I’m proudly a part, takes an anit-copyright position as well. This, I feel, is both wrong and an unnecessary uphill battle as we seek the correct solution moving forward. Many of my creative friends who were very outspoken about SOPA/PIPA, contacting their reps, etc., specifically did not want to be affiliated with certain groups during this protest because of the anti-copyright position associated therewith.In reality, there are multiple issues/solutions. The big labels have investments to protect and they must adapt to the real world as it exists today. But secondly, artists need to reconsider the contracts into which they enter to promote their “brands”. It seems absurd to me to rain hate down on record labels (for example) when the artists took the fast-track to stardom. I’m not in any way suggesting the artist is/was wrong for doing so, but there are some analogies here to VC if one thinks about it. I’m hopeful (and we’re already seeing it) that artists will engage in more of their own distribution, and if working with big media labels they will hold out for more modern terms. Edit: typos

    1. fredwilson

      i am not a fan of a full frontal assault on copyright. even though i personally have many issues with copyright and use creative commons on everything i do, i do not think there is a broad consensus on copyright in our society. that’s a fight that i don’t think is worth fighting.

      1. Dale Allyn

        I understand and respect your position on copyright, Fred. I think it’s important to listen to a broad range of views on it because content creation comes in extremely varied forms and must negotiate a wide range of markets, etc. The choice must be in the hands of the creator of content in my opinion. It’s up to each to understand what’s best for him/her in their respective arena. Creative Commons gives us one important type of alternative to traditional copyright for those so inclined.

      2. direwolff

        yes, but the broad consensus on copyright doesn’t mean that every time it’s about to expire for the “Mouse” (aka. Disney), it s/b be extended, which as you know is what’s kept happening.  for all the talk about the artist in all of this, i don’t recall dead artists as being people whose work needs to be protected for two more life times 😉



      4. Cam MacRae

        ridiculous duration extensions aside, i’d argue copyright works pretty well including for you; CC requires minimal effort to signal which rights you waive and which you reserve all within the existing framework.

    2. Otto

      The US Supreme Court ruled this week that content already in the Public Domain can be re-copyrighted to be compatible with “International law”. When things like that are happening expect the anti-IP chorus to get louder.

      1. Dale Allyn

        Agreed, Public Domain should not be reversible. That doesn’t change the value of copyright to creators for a reasonable period of time. And let’s not confuse IP, patents, and copyright (I’m not saying you are). The point is that these decisions should not be made by a few “hacks” (see how I cleaned that up? 😉 in Washington D.C. and unscrupulous lobbyists with fat checkbooks. There is more to this issue than only the entertainment industry, but too often I hear passionate arguments focussing only on this area (or attacking Disney). A proper solution must take into consideration individuals in many areas of content creation. 

        1. Otto

          Let’s hope that recent events are the impetus for public discussion. Another response to you could be, “That’s why government should get out of the copyright business. Let individuals in many areas of content creation contract in ways that are best for them.” There is more to this than Hollywood indeed.

    3. Chris Brand

      The problem is that we keep being told that we have to choose – Copyright or Free Communication – mostly by the MPAA, RIAA, and government. When you tell people that they have to make that choice, surprisingly enough they choose to scrap copyright and keep lolcats. I’ve been involved in copyright reform for over a decade now, and it’s only fairly recently that “scrap copyright” has become a position that won’t get you laughed at, and that’s simply because we keep being told that the alternative is to turn the Internet into TV.Personally I think we’d be best changing copyright so that it moves back into businesses and out of people’s homes – I shouldn’t need to hire a lawyer to figure out whether it’s legal to back up a DVD.

      1. Dale Allyn

        Chris, you’re right that you should not need a lawyer for such things as personal backup copies. Of course, that is rarely the real problem. Most of the time it simply boils down to respect for the content creators’ wishes, within the laws which already exist. Copyright law affects much more than just popular music, television and movie entertainment, so I when I hear people discuss the abolishment of copyrights it’s obvious to me that they are not looking at the entire complex array of issues. The distribution channels need to be designed, the revenue models need to be revamped, and on and on. But copyright law touches much more than entertainment, and people’s lives and livelihoods depend on certain reasonable protections.

  15. awaldstein

    Really well said Fred.There is not much that I embrace without reservation and counterpoints. This approach rings true.

    1. fredwilson

      happy birthday my friend

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks. New snow was one of the best presents.

  16. tyronerubin

    Even though it wont happen in this case but I dream of a simple solution. Great TV content such as films and tv series need money to be created. I feel that product placement is one way but the audience does need to pay, which is obvious. With more and more people streaming their content from the web it seems like a subscription based system would be ideal. Or sales of entire series of Mad Men.I live in South Africa and have nowhere other than the web to turn for content. I have a broadband connection at home and no cable tv as such. So I have no other choice but to turn to the web for my content. I am also addicted to great content in the form of tv and film. We dont have netflix or hulu available here as its blocked. So I have no choice but to download content. I work in the film and tv industry here in South Africa and need to keep abreast of what the rest of the world is creating. New styles, new techniques, new stories.When thinking of a solution to getting amazing content legally in the US think of what will happen to the rest of the world. There are almost a billion people in Africa who want amazing content and possibly the 1 billion people in India might also want it. I am sure its going to take time to find a solution to distribute great content legally.Subscription still seems the most viable way. If that does become the case then Africa will have to wait to jump on board as such a few percentage of our continent has fast enough web for streaming. The bottom line is people want and have time for great content. Back to my opening point. People want great content and there just might be that simple solution to get it to the entire world legally. And I am pretty certain the web will figure out how to make that happen.here is a post I wrote that deals a bit with thishttp://tyronerubin.com/post…

  17. William Mougayar

    So the fight isn’t over, but the battleground has shifted. Fred- where do you think the solution is going to come from: Technology, Legal, Educational or Industry Processes? (or a bit of all of the above)

    1. fredwilson

      i am hoping the world of behavioral economics will provide the solution

      1. William Mougayar

        I will read up more of that emerging field. Thanks – posted via http://engag.io

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          William,The reality is that even Adam Smith was a behavioral economist and wrote about fairness and justice.I wrote my thesis using expected utility models to predict the outcome of a political event and I spent months arguing with my thesis advisor (Jacek Kugler http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… over some of the same issues raised by behavioral economists.Its a VERY interesting field, especially for those of us who are not so sure that assuming that man is rational and always acts to maximize his self interests is all that wise of an assumption.

          1. William Mougayar

            It will be interesting to see how this plays out into the post-SOPA evolution.- posted via http://engag.io

          2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            I think one the most interesting points is that while most of the AVC focus is on the motion picture industry, the support of SOPA was quite broad based: From the American Apparel Association, to the big three automakers, all the major sports leagues, drug companies, and everyone in between.Personally, I think that just focusing on the entertainment industry and the ability to be able to watch what you want, when you want, where you want, totally misses the point.

          3. William Mougayar

            I didn’t know that. But these other groups didn’t have anti-SOPA groups like the Tech industry working hard to defeat it. I can understand the Sports groups being in that camp, but what beef do the Auto, Drugs & Apparel industry have in it? – posted via http://engag.io

          4. Carl J. Mistlebauer

            William, lets be honest, the idea that the masses could be worked up to exert influence on a piece of legislation is really a new idea, that hasn’t been done before.So, now these other groups have got to go back and figure out a new strategy taking in the reality of the situation.Quite a few of the supporters are a surprise to me also but the drug and apparel industry doesn’t surprise me at all; the drug companies do not want you to have access to foreign sources of prescriptions because of the pricing differences between what they sell their drugs for in the US vs. Canada and Europe. You also have a growing counterfeit drug market thanks to China.Apparel is the same way, you have a huge counterfeit and knock off market, which before the internet was small and local. Now that the world is one marketplace Puma, Nike, and alot of other name brands are finding themselves competing with their own products, made by the same plants that make their goods but at greatly lower prices.The reality is that the battle over SOPA is much larger than just artists, music, movies and access.The concept of piracy also needs to include counterfeiting and knock offs.

          5. William Mougayar

            Yup…the masses = the online masses. I think this is the new age where Online Advocacy becomes really effective.- posted via http://engag.io



  18. Aviah Laor

    First step should address tons of people who will happily buy IF YOU LET THEM PAY. iTunes is not avail in your country rdio not avail in your country hulu not avail in your country spotify not avail in your country half of Audible titles not avail in your country Netflix not avail in your country pandora not avail in your country (NAINYC). So any wonder why there is “international” piracy?

    1. aweissman

      great pointitunes apps are available in 123 countries.itunes music is available in 51 countries.in other words, there are 72 countries where you can buy apps through itunes but not music.there are 6 countries where you can buy tv shows through itunes, so that makes 117 countries where you can buy apps but not shows through itunes.that says alot about what is going on.

      1. fredwilson

        super great point andy

  19. John Revay

    The Power of the Internet – I am somewhat of a political junkieI have been meaning to drop Fred an email to encourage him to write a blog post on Disruption with our political process – It was somewhat raised when he wrote the blog at the end of Dec 2011 “2012 The Year Movements Go Mainstream”.I think we are way over due w/ some disruption to our political and governering process – we should look to the power of the internet & and social sites to bring about real change – constitutional amendments.  No specific order – many are taken from my college roommates tweets last year @Mrmcgu if you want my vote.Rule #1A – Get rid of all lobbyists – period Rule # 2 Term Limits – for allRule #3 It’s the Economy stupid, stop borrowing money from the Chinese to send overseas Rule #4 Spend money on defense – just spend it more efficiently Rule #5 Social security, if people pay into Social Security it stays in social security. Medicare too. Don’t confuse me with budget soup. Rule #6 All government employees and all citizens have the same “entitlement” programs: SocSec, 401k,mcare, part B… no special treatment or benefits for elected officialsRule #6A- Congress subject to same laws as all citizens Rule #7 Balance Budget amendment – if we want to start a war – have a tax surcharge to pay for it.Rule #8 Fix Education Rule # 9  Separation of Church and State – why do politicians always have to bring God into everything.Edited to fix typos

    1. fredwilson

      we are going to do a Union Square Sessions event in April on this. the working name for it is Hacking Society. not sure we’ll call it that in the end. but these Sessions events have been fundamental in our evolving investment thesis. this is a link to the one we did on educationhttp://www.usv.com/2009/05/…

      1. John Revay

        Not sure if the Union Square Session is open to the public or closed ( Portfolio Companies/customers and LP/Shareholders).  If open I will be on the lookout for the date.

        1. fredwilson

          it is a closed session, but we will record it in some way and make it public.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Will this be open to the public.  Would be worth a trip to NYC.  

        1. fredwilson

          no, it will be a small working session. but we will record it in some way and make it public as we have done with all of them.

    2. PhilipSugar

      Put in the last rule to make it an even 10.  Move the seat of government every four years.  That gets rid of the cesspool that is DC

    3. fhhindc

      Sorry, John, but…”Rule #1A – Get rid of all lobbyists – period”Would be a clear violation of Article I of the Constitution which states:”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      1. John Revay

        Hi fhhindcThank you for the reply –  I don’t mean to trample on the Constitution.I think what we experienced earlier this week showed that The People still have a viable way to petition the Government  for a redress of grievances – I just want to take the money out of the equation.There was a good piece on 60 minutes last fall – talking about Jack Abramoff and what is wrong w/ Lobbyist.http://bit.ly/uIM6xjI think the founding fathers would be appalled if they were alive today.I don’t think we can rely on the law makers to enact the proper laws to govern themselves – I think that is well documented.

        1. JLM

          Jack Abramoff was a criminal.  He was not a lobbyist.  He was a criminal.A whole lot more folks should have gone to prison with him.

    4. Otto

      Some of these are vague, but in the interest of discussion I would include competitive currency. The Federal Reserve Note monopoly is incompatible with the fluid and decentralized nature of digital content production.

  20. chrisdorr

    Great post.Also agree with Charlie Crystie’s point. The studios, record companies, etc. want to keep the total control to which they have become accustomed.  Lack of transparency, high costs, limited access to distribution, small numbers of real players in the system, and limited access to talent is the way they believe the system should work.  Anything that threatens this tightly held universe is a threat that should be eliminated–because these companies have done well with this arrangement. This is the culture that bred SOPA.Senior execs in Hollywood see the Internet as a destroyer not as an enabler of their distribution.  For most of them the word Internet and Piracy are the same word. They hate the control they are losing on all fronts, so they respond by suing.  In fact, litigation is a key part of the mass entertainment culture.  When in doubt, sue.  Sid Sheinberg, formerly second in command at Universal Studios was once quoted as saying “litigation is a profit center”.  If they had their druthers they would make the Internet simply disappear.So this the belief system/culture that has to be changed if a successful agreement can be arranged between the technology and entertainment industries for any kind of legislation. I suspect right now, many of these senior entertainment executives are simply wondering what the hell just happened to them. They felt they were very close to a slam dunk with this legislation and suddenly it got snatched away from them.When you think about how all this happened over the past two months+–it might make a very good movie! Wonder if anyone has bought the rights yet!

    1. fredwilson

      “litigation is a profit center”i think free is profit centerhttp://www.avc.com/a_vc/200…

      1. AlexSchleber

        Wrote this a while back:”Sony is making a huge mistake by not going the $1/month route for complete/unlimited streaming music access with their own new offering. Because that would put it in the complete impulse purchase, don’t-need-to-think, will-likely-never-cancel-for-any-reason category.What if they could thereby garner 100 Million users, thus spending about $1.2 Billion, or in other words about 20% of what still is left of the global music industry?!If Apple doesn’t do it, then someone else eventually will. *Only then will some in the #dinomedia come to see, that the race was not about who was still going to eek out some residual “crumbs” profits from the Old System, but who was going to wholesale import the masses into their Ecosystem.* “

        1. LE

          “by not going the $1/month route””don’t-need-to-think, will-likely-never-cancel-for-any-reason category”Not only that but it starts at a dollar and can escalate every year or two after achieving critical mass. People are unlikely to cancel if only 2 to 5% increases or if more value is added. I think one of the biggest mistakes companies make is trying to profit right away. If they have financial resources better to keep prices as low as possible. This also keeps out competitors who see an opportunity to offer the same thing for less.

          1. ShanaC

            Yup, you saw this with netflix.  they are trying so hard and the content industry hits them over and over for essentially trying to do exactly what is said here.

  21. Tom Labus

    It would be good to attempt to negotiate with the content industry but under the current set of circumstances it would be better to be vigilant.  Chris Dodd was pretty pissed that his employers didn’t get their vote.It’s also pretty amazing that this is the industry that endured the Black List in the 50’s.

    1. William Carleton

      Dodd is the poster child for how we’ve permitted corruption to seem normative. Once the Senator from Connecticut (D-Conn.), he might now be referred to as the Senator for the entertainment industry (MPAA-Hollywood). His mindset is SO committed to the idea that legislation is the product of powerful, clashing interest groups; you can see from this quote that he doesn’t conceive of the idea that people can speak in their own voices:”[S]ome technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.”It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.”

      1. Tom Labus

        He’s danced to many tunes.

      2. fredwilson

        i’d love to go talk to him. i think he could use our help.

      3. John Revay

        He (Dodd) was all over the cable airways this week when the bill lost support, talking about how much money the entertainment industry gave the President in 2008.  He sounded frustrated that the White House came out against the bill.Old School 

  22. Siminoff

    I hope that the tone of your post becomes the norm in the tech communities continued action on this issue. I have seen some post like Paul Graham’s going to war post and I think that is absolutely the wrong way to attack this issue.A joint Hollywood/Tech group that would not only work on figuring out necessary legislation but also assisting in how content should be opened to the Internet to take away the need for privacy would help to create a better overall internet.

    1. Guest

      I made a Google + post thread the other day and offered one solution that traditional tech investors should think is investing in content themselves. So, I think Paul’s post is good from that standpoint. However, the tone of his post was not inviting and the title very much divisive … which given the economic situation seems extremely counterproductive.  ~ Geoffrey

    2. fredwilson

      i’m not into war. i was born into a military family. military families hate war.

  23. johnpisciotta

    This is an important post, “Some people see every problem as a opportunity, other people see every opportunity as a problem”Once upon a time there was this disruptive technology called radio…And BMI and ASCAP were created to process performance royalties around the the new innovation/medium. A more recent example is Sound Exchange in the non-terrestrial streaming space. The ‘either – or’ view, either we have an understanding of copyright, or we have an open web, is a zero sum thinking, and a false dichotomy. If we listen to the marketplace here, the marketplace IS speaking loudly. Entrepreneurs and innovators should be feeding on the opportunity in front of us. This is what our team at MusicSynk gets out of bed everyday, focused on. MusicSynk is a next generation sync licensing accelerator platform, focused on copyright Integrity, user transparency, and innovative feature sets for copyright owners and music supervisors. MusicSynk is a convergence of a dozen fractured processes, and organizes them into a noise-free workflow management space. You can find out more here.  http://musicsynk.com/There are many problems/opportunities here, let’s pick one and get to work on it. 

  24. hcscott

    I think this will be a very frustrating battle for the Tech industry until at least the majority of congress understand the internet. Over many decades they have come to learn the content industry and the longstanding protections that they deservedly enjoy.  Congress needs to gain a better understanding of the risks that internet distributors of content face and the immensity of the challenge of enforcing the content providers protections.  There is surely a balance of interests to be found here, but the balance will be tilted in favor of content providers so long as so many in congress are ignorant of the internet. I don’t recall his name, but one of the congressional sponsors or proponents of SOPA admitted that he had never used the internet and its related gadgets and had no interest in doing so.  This is just one piece of evidence indicating a political problem for the technology industry in Washington.

    1. fredwilson

      good point. education is critical.

      1. Karen E

        It’s also a function of the age of the people in power.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. LE

            Have you ever seen some of the constituents that some of these “OBSOLETE PEOPLE” represent? They aren’t exactly fast on the uptake. Shucks grimlock.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            YES. THAT PART OF POINT.

  25. Dave W Baldwin

    Agree 100% re Anonymous.  Those type of actions can have a backlash.Love what @tao69:disqus basically got around to, saying kiss my ass to industry… don’t like it, don’t watch it. Moving to the recording industry, @ccrystle:disqus knows I agree.  It is a matter of developing something different.  Remember MoTown didn’t just spring up because the industry said they wanted it.It is better to do a multi front assault.  At this time, there are vehicles that don’t require the blessings of Hollywood.  It is a matter of giving the market the option of tuning in. 

  26. gregorylent

    potential loss of real freedom, #ndaa, not a peeppotential loss of virtual freedom, #sopa, a huge outcryamerica is weird

    1. Guest

      yes, I recognize that too. that is another debate that should be had as it too speaks to a cultural issue. however, I think some traction should be started ASAP on the issue Fred speaks to above. I am not pro-SOPA but I was pro thoughtful discussion and am a fan of meaningful content which RIAA & MPAA finances, distributes and offers. For now, I think some folks should come together and start working stuff out (within the confines of no anti-competitiveness issues, etc. etc.)but at some point lets all get back to what you bring up gregorylent … for sure  ~ Geoffrey

      1. Geoffrey

        clarification: I recognize MPAA /RIAA do not directly finance, distribute & offer content but represent those parties interests.   ~ Geoffrey

    2. kidmercury

      america’s culture of individualism has some great aspects, but one big weakness is the short-sightedness that comes from thinking only about yourself. educated americans know that sopa, pipa, ndaa, and the recently proposed enemy expatration act — which if passed will allow US govt to revoke the citizenship of US citizens believed to be terrorists (whatever that means), thus making the majority of them stateless people with no rights and no freedom to travel — are all related. i’m confident silicon valley will wake up and realize the real game after a bit more pain. the culture is shifting, now there was pressure to say something against sopa instead of doing anything. just a couple years ago the socially smart move was to keep your mouth shut. now the socially smart move is to turn activism into a marketing campaign. as this snowballs and as the political reality sets in i’m confident the american technology community will mature to the point of true service to society. 

      1. Rohan

        Simit, there’s a great great great great book out there that I just finished called ‘The Happiness Hypothesis’ by Jonathan Haidt. I can’t recommend it highly enough – http://www.amazon.com/Happi… I thought of it on your comment on individualism. And the book covers many deep aspects of the notion of balance among extreme forces that make life what it is.If you’re thinking of getting a book to read, I hope you get this one! 🙂

      2. Michael Elling

        km, our individualism is borne out of our multiculturism.  Consensus is difficult to achieve without confrontation.  Less so in homogeneous societies.  Hence we are reactive as opposed to proactive.  But when we get our s–t together, watch out.  The positive side of our multiculturism is open and fresh exchange of ideas.  Why else are MSFT, CSCO, GOOG, AAPL, FB, etc… all American?  Let me add one other travesty which I’ll refer to later and that is the remonopolization of the access providers with the 96 Telecom Act and the resulting paradoxical legislative and regulatory process under 2 regimes.  As much as content ownership issues, that’s the “other” elephant in the room potentially crowding out growth and openness..

    3. ShanaC

      ndaa is a problem.  and yes, you’ll be hearing more about it..lack of writ of habeaus corpus.  Makes being a journalist in international affairs much harder…so also ties into freedom of the press….(I’m slowly starting to see people aware of it in my life, hence, why I say that)

  27. Guest

    Olives, delicious. Olive oil, delicious. Olive branch, delicious!A hand has been extended now content folks. Time to stop the us v them stuff and roll up some sleeves and make sure the bad stuff gets fixed and the silly stuff does not actually come to pass. Good on ya Fred.  ~ Geoffrey

    1. fredwilson

      i don’t represent the internet or tech community. so others will have to support this idea before it is really an olive branch. i hope they do.

      1. Guest

        Yes, I hope so too as I have told you before.

  28. Robert Thuston

    Fred, Inspiring post. Love the foresight of this type thinking (looking at the longterm). @ccrystle:disqus makes a great point as well, which leads me to think Part of the problem is the industry needs to lose some of their power in order to regain it (which is a tough sell).And… the song we’ve all been waiting for in response to this post…http://www.youtube.com/watc

    1. FlavioGomes


    2. Donna Brewington White

      That’s funny, Robert.  The song, that is.A pretty deep thought about the industry needing to lose some of their power in order to regain it.  This brought to mind a statement made by Tim O’Reilly that was pretty interesting: “The motion picture industry has a history of opposing every new technology, even those that proved ultimately to grow the market.”  http://bit.ly/xmbB4iMaybe the industry needs to be reminded of what it feels like to be hungry.  That might be the best thing that could happen to it.

  29. Mike Madden

    Online piracy is a problem and yes it does take money out of the pockets of the industries such as RIAA and MPAA but they have it coming to them for their bad business practices. I do not support piracy but I do condone the work arounds that paying customers have to do to get content. Spotify – Great service to stream music anywhere! Problem? Certain artists you can not find on Spotify at all such as Tool, Pink Floyd or Adele’s latest album. If you want to have a service such as Spotify you also have to still buy CDs or download them digitally and then store that on your portable device. Otherwise you need to move it to Google Music or Amazon and stream from their servers which gives you no reason to keep Spotify. This is even with a premium subscription. Hulu Plus – Hulu Plus charges you so you can watch streaming content on different devices. The problem? Licenses forces them to prevent you from watching episodes on your Xbox and you have to go to the web. If I pay a premium fee I should be able to watch all content on my TV as I see fit. What is the alternative? Users download full episodes from torrent sites and Hulu & Content Creators see no profit. Netflix – A great service that has been stripped of new releases and has very few selection for users who want to stream popular movies. Once again users are forced to use alternative sources such as VOD or torrent sites for new releases. VOD is too expensive already. 

    1. fredwilson

      we can do better and we need to do better. we need the artists and their funders to cooperate.



  30. Steve Hallock

    unfortunately the only way to fix the problem is to fix the system.  as long as there exists a central government with the willingness and the power to regulate one industry at the behest of another, a new fight will always be on the horizon and eventually will be lost.and the only way to solve that is by thought and rehabilitation of people’s self determinism.  when it is once again widely accepted that we, as people, have the right to our own self determinism (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!) and that it is not ‘granted’ by the government but actually destroyed by it, then we will start to see the appropriate changes in government.  this country was founded to prevent things like this from happening.  hopefully we’ll find our way back philosophically – so EVERYONE can be free.

  31. aweissman

    I think there first needs to be a better understanding of what the “content industry” actually is. On the one hand, it might be the RIAA or MPAA, and the major studios.  But it’s so much more than that isnt it?It’s also the creators, the artists.  So what do those creators and artists think about all this?  That’s an important missing perspective.  Charlie Crystle hits on it perfectly.And then maybe the tech industry can show the creators these tools “we” have built – the kickstarters, the indiegogos, the bandcamps, the reverbnations, the gumroads.That’s an important piece that is missing.I often think of that Mick Jagger quote about the music industry – that the Stones made money in like 2 years of their whole career, otherwise they never made a dime.

    1. Guest

      I started calling for the perspective of the artists awhile ago in some blog posts I made Arnold. It is a missing perspective but it has been sought after … at least by some of us.    ~ Geoffrey

      1. Guest

        LOL, insert “Andrew ” delete “Arnold” above.

    2. Guest

      It is hard to get any facts around this but from my experience many creative types dislike confrontation. That may be a consistent quality trait among the creative set or it might be the result of longer term business model dynamics (business managers and agents do most of the tough negotiations so the artist can feel unencumbered to create ). Regardless, the artist perspective should be considered but I do not think that the MPAA/RIAA had any desire to craft bills solely for the corporate interests solely but included either quiet direct desires on the part of artists or their guilds, etc. Naive to think that MPAA/RIAA was looking out for anyone but the companies. Maybe? But I am not really sure. The artist sells many things (talent, creativity, imagination, interpretation) but they also sell likability. It is hard for me to believe that the MPAA/RIAA does not know this and has not incorporated some of thoughts and wishes of some of the creative set it represents. But I will say it again like I did back in December, let’s let the artists decide. 

  32. Jz

    I have no position on this issue yet and I need to understand it better. but I do have an observation. It seems to me giant corporationslike Google and Facebook do sway Congress. So don’t be outraged next time when Xxonmobile kills an environmental bill. This time it’s Murdoch against Larry Page and Larry won. I don’t like Giant corporations having too much influence weather it is google ornews Corp.

  33. FlavioGomes

    As Bob Lefsetz remarked about the Content industry, their motto is:Please consume, but don’t create, don’t share.As others have mentioned, the middle man is growing irrelevant and the scarcity model is turning potential customers into pirates. The means of production is now in the hands of the proletariate but quality visual content is largely still the realm of high infrastructure producers (some good stuff produced by hobbiests…but still lots and lots of crap ). The music industry is largely moving in the right direction the movie and tv business is at a critical turning point.The content producers need good governance and as Fred mentioned we need to find ways to align content producer and technology developer interests.I’m repulsed by blatant piracy, people who develop content need to get paid for their hard work, Louis C.K seems to be heading in the right direction.  Quality content always finds a way to reasonable profit.

  34. Steven Kane

    +1Thanks Fred

    1. fredwilson

      nice to hear from you steve. how are you doing with your time wasting efforts?

      1. Steven Kane

        actually, things are going great! will send you some fun numbers separately…

  35. PhilipSugar

    I think what bothered me the most was watching the dirty insider pool that Washington DC plays.Christopher Dodd.  He illustrates everything that is broken.  There was a comment by a lobbyist that he failed to get the bill through fast enough, not it wasn’t a good bill, not that it was good for the country, nope playing politics like it is a game to be won at all costs.   Talking about trading your legislative career for money.  Disgusting.  The arrogance of “we know what is better for you” sickens me.As far as Megaupload, I didn’t even know who they were, but it seems the justice department’s case was built on intent to skirt the laws in order to make more money.  The speed and ability to arrest everybody and show cars getting seized was impressive.  However, it was mighty ironic that they didn’t do it to a single Wall Street executive, even though there was much clearer intent.  I’ll take them at their word that Megaupload caused $500M in damages.  The phrase drop in the bucket comes to mind

    1. Antone Johnson

      Huh?  I agree with your whole first paragraph, but there have been plenty of “perp walks” on Wall Street that were widely publicized.  Just one example, these Bear Stearns guys:  http://online.wsj.com/artic…

      1. PhilipSugar

        Show me an example where they took all of the cars, dragged them out of the house, and put them in jail with no bail.That is a polite indictment they served no time.  As a matter of fact they are singled out as the only guys even prosecuted: http://www.nytimes.com/2011

    2. Michael Elling

      PS, chew on this.  Liberal democrats support and are supported by free-market competitive service providers.  Conservative republicans support and are supported by social monopolies.  Hmmmh.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I think its like the WWE.  Republicans Democrats they put on a good fake fight and go drink beers (or more like super expensive drinks paid by lobbyists) afterwords.

        1. Michael Elling

          If only it hadn’t had (and still has) such a deleterious impact on the competitive service provider and infrastructure vendor worlds I would laugh at that.  We have a looming bandwidth crisis.  Have you looked at your cellphone and cable bills lately?  And you’re getting service that is 5-10 years behind what the current technology would provide in a competitive model.

  36. RV

    You write “I’ve been busy over the past few days thinking about a framework that is based on a partnership between the content and technology industries.”I’m having a hard time thinking of shared goals between the tech community and corporate media.  It seems to me that the tech community wants open tools, choice, and freedom while corporate media wants to maintain it’s monopolistic control of the audience.  I don’t know how those differences are reconcilable.Also I do not think the ‘content industry’ and ‘MPAA + RIAA’ are synonymous.  There are content creators that have figured out how to build products and audiences in the new world without corporate media and their lobbyists.  You covered one of them recently, Louis C.K.Thanks for continuing to push this issue to the forefront and hosting these conversations.

  37. Aaron Klein

    The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We can never let our guard down on this one.”This is no way for one industry to propose that Congress regulate another industry.” Definitely true, but there is NEVER a circumstance where one industry should propose that Congress regulate another industry.It didn’t feel good when Hollywood tried to get government to pick them as the winner and tech as the loser. We should stick to the principles that defeated SOPA and never try to do the same thing in return to any other industry.The essence of the tech industry is that competition, free markets and a level playing field allow the best technology, the best teams and the best execution to win. That’s why I love our industry and we should never allow that to change.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      “The essence of the tech industry is that competition, free markets and a level playing field allow the best technology, the best teams and the best execution to win.”Word.  It is an industry where capitalism is still at its best.

  38. kidmercury

    anonymous’ actions are in response to the takedown of megaupload, which1. was a retaliation against sopa2. had many innocent bystanders3. is a very aggressive move — megaupload is not a small siteanonymous also operates from a wider reality. they concern themselves with things like NDAA and 9/11, which the technology community is still too afraid of, and still as the “not my problem” mentality — a mentality that is both selfish and false. i would argue that is deplorable.  that is not to say anonymous’ actions are wise, namely because their actions are too easy to criticize. anonymous made the mistake of engaging in digital violence; civil disobedience, like gandhi and mlk jr, is a much more palatable route and is what i’m confident will ultimately occur and bring us victory, once the technology industry matures and realizes their obligation to be of service to moral law. 

    1. fredwilson

      i agree with that last point 100%

    2. Dan Bowen

      KM – I am so incredibly torn with your views.  On the one hand I applaud your passion, focus and great insight on so many critical issues facing our country…and then your 9/11 truth concepts just convolute your arguments for me.  I think you have some great thoughts, but as a 15 year veteran of USAF intelligence community, some of your views really color your bigger themes for me.

      1. kidmercury

        i’m always open to discussing 9/11 truth — in fact it is my favorite topic to discuss in the whole wide world. there are many, many, many smoking guns to 9/11, but let’s remember that there has never been a criminal investigation into 9/11 — just a few wars and the onset of a police state. the collapse of building 7 remains a mystery and more than a few architects and engineers who have studied the subject in detail report that it exhibits all the signs of a controlled demolition. i could go on and on. i know it is unpleasant to hear but i focus on it for a reason, because 9/11 truth is in my opinion the most direct route to ending the “war on terror” (aka war on freedom) and the restoration of civil liberties domestically. i find it very unfortunate that the internet community shows no interest in this subject, though i am confident as they mature they will. on a long enough timeline the truth always wins. the tipping point is almost here. lastly many of your peers in the intelligence community agree with 9/11 truthers. patriotsquestion911 dot com remains my favorite site to cite specifically for that reason.

        1. Dan Bowen

          Well KM, I’m not going to hijack (excuse the pun) Fred’s blog for this discussion, as I said, I appreciate your passion for your views, I will simply leave you with this perspective.  My work in the world of secrets helped me quickly realize how few secrets there really are.  The difficulty of consensus on matters of life and death make secrets vastly more difficult to keep and thus, the ability to pull off 9/11 as an internal conspiracy is of a scale that is simply beyond my ability to comprehend.  At any rate, keep pressing your views, as I said, I’m torn with you but I do appreciate much of your perspective.

          1. kidmercury

            That’s the first argument everyone always brings up — the impossibility of conspiracy. There have been whistleblowers, like sibel edmonds and coleen rowley, amongst others. But the argument for the” conspiracy is impossible logistically crowd” is simply to do the research, then you can see the logistics. There is enough evidence to indict cheney. Moreover while not everything is fully understood because govt wont tell us and wont launch a criminal investigation is that the mainstream media story of bin laden and the plane hijackers requires a disbelief in the fundamental laws of physics.

        2. Antone Johnson

          There are no, no, no smoking guns to 9/11.  Every conceivable question was put to rest at least seven years ago, and only the lunatic fringe clings to bizarre conspiracy theories for reasons I can’t begin to fathom.  Let the dead rest in peace and move on.http://www.popularmechanics

          1. kidmercury

            Well you can believe popular mechanics if you’d like, although it is worth noting those guys refuse to publicly debate the issue. Ask yourself why there has never been a criminal investigation, why the 911 commission report doesn’t mention building 7, why more than half the families of 911 victims support an investigation, why fbui chief of investigative publicity Rex tomb said the reason bin laden is not on the fbi’s most wanted list for 911 is because there is no hard evidence connecting bin laden to 911.For a more academic response to popular mechanics see david ray griffin’s book, “debunking 911 debunking.”

    3. Otto

      I don’t condone what Anonymous did but it’s deplorable what happened to megaupload.

    4. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      KM,You make a very valid point; that seems to be missed because most people wear industry related blinders; I can’t help to believe that somehow as we celebrate winning this battle we are trying to deny the reality that we have lost the war.I am reading Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together (http://alonetogetherbook.com/) and I realize that maybe we need another plural for “I” beyond “we” one that signifies individuals who share something but do not have a common bond, that the word “we” denotes.  I cannot help, as I move forward on my own project, to realize that rather than selling big and tall t shirts, or a quality product, with a high value added component, that the profits derived from the selling of the product will off set the cost of developing an internet platform.  I think of this even more now as I deal with coders who have no concept of “a profit” but rather see everything as “traction” and “users” and I realize that I might just end up giving away t shirts and making my profit from selling the “community” to advertisers.When most of the AVC’ers can go on and on about being able to access what they want when they want, then complain about paying for shipping, its obvious that we will reach the point where paying for anything on the internet becomes the issue.I think its real easy for someone to claim, “I would pay $30 for a program if it was available to me when I wanted it….”  That is just another example of the 1% vs the 99%.Right now, if you ask most young people, they have never thought, how does Facebook make their money?  It never dawns on them that maintaining and operating Facebook has a cost, they just assume if its free to them then it costs nothing.

      1. LE

        “how does Facebook make their money?  It never dawns on them that maintaining and operating Facebook has a cost, they just assume if its free to them”More annoying than that is having to hear from people that are bothered by advertising appearing on a free product or service. “as I deal with coders who have no concept of “a profit” but rather see everything as “traction” and “users”‘When I see the videos of all these web2.0 companies with their games and quirky offices I really wonder what will happen when those people get older and all that lack of structure fades.  I also wonder what will happen with anyone that’s been funded that attempts to start a business  and has to hit it dead right on the first try with either their house or a relatives house mortgaged as collateral. Many young people of course are impressed by the fortunes made by other young entrepreneurs.  I think they are out of touch with the amount of people that are doing things and not succeeding. Whether they should take a gamble or not depends on their personal circumstances of course and the downside to the chance they are taking. They are young so they can afford to take a gamble. I feel bad for the ones though that pass up more of a sure thing opportunity thinking they will be the next star.

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          I got my first management position when I was 16 and I realized as I “grew up” in management that I was always seen as a threat to my fellow managers who were for the most part much older than I was; the concept of “mentoring” seems to be something that always happened to other people, never me.In fact, the kindest words of wisdom I ever got was when my boss in Saudi Arabia let me know that “…old age and treachery will overcome youth and enthusiasm every time…”I can’t help but bristle every time JLM refers to “the wisdom of the campfire” 🙂 (If I had listened to the wisdom of the campfire then I would have been one very unhappy person…)So, I have always tried to mentor young people and I have a better working relationship with younger people than I do with people my own age or older; but then again, I don’t see people or ideas as threats.The trouble is finding a balance between “being and becoming.” Or in the case of young people, educating without discouraging.Its tough because my nephew is majoring in Entrepreneurship…when I talk to him, his friends, or a class, or their business leaders fraternity, I always focus on entrepreneurship as something you do “around” something and what they need to figure out is what that something is.Like I tell them, I always had ideas but not the skills, now I have the ideas and the skills; your degree gives you the skills….Then you have the battle of do I believe in my idea enough to risk everything I own on it? If you fear getting fired from your job over what you think is a good idea then you are not an entrepreneur.Of course they now throw back at me that you get other people to invest in you! I just laugh and tell them that the thought of losing someone else’s money should be a bigger fear than the thought of losing all of your own.It really is a struggle because on one hand I read AVC everyday and then I walk out my front door, and my world is nothing like Fred’s world…Right now I am trying to figure out a way to “monetize” the endeavors of my internet project for the folks working on it. I need to figure out a way to get them to think beyond “likes” and “users” and all of that and realize that its tee shirts we sell and its sold tee shirts that matter.Heck of a way to spend a Saturday…the “gamification” of profitability.

  39. Riley Harrison

    great post! always two sides to very issue. 

  40. Dan Bowen

    The sad truth about so many of these issues is that the foundation of so much of the debate starts with fundamental personal responsibility.  While I definitely applaud the killing of the bill, I have enormous compassion for creative people who seemingly lose control of so much of their work because of the internet and more importantly, so many users belief that there is no harm in them ‘sharing’ a little content here and there.  But the concept of personal responsibility is lost on so many in society today that far too few even begin to put themselves in the shoes of those that truly are harmed when we freely ‘share’ their hard work.  This is a complex issue that requires a lot of thought and reasonable solutions.  So much of what happens on the web cannot be ‘undone’ in a timely manner which inevitably causes loses for many, but governments hand on the switch and the fear of endless litigation is not the answer. 

    1. Guest

      Righteous! Yes! I stated something similar in my Google Plus post the other day (I have mentioned this post elsewhere here today. I also tagged Fred in it too so he could see my thoughts there). I really agree that much of this issue I think is cultural. Don’t want something like SOPA? Don’t take stuff. Then if the supposed ‘other side’ still whines you know its not that but could be direct model, etc., etc.    ~ Geoffrey

    2. Antone Johnson

      And yet none of these are new issues.  I remember borrowing records from a friend or the public library as a kid and taping them onto cassette, or taping songs off the radio, or making mix tapes and sharing them with friends.  Most media are readily shared, swapped, borrowed, lent, etc. even in traditional format.  What if a group of five friends buys five different books and then takes turns reading them, so only one copy of each book is sold instead of five?Each of these things deprives the artist and distributor of potential revenue, yet it’s not clear whether any of them should be considered immoral or made illegal (let alone criminal), whether done online or offline.  Issues around sharing content are so much more nebulous than with physical property.

      1. Dan Bowen

        You bring up a very interesting point Antone, like you, I’m old enough to have had those very same experiences.  My last venture (Verdict Systems) was a litigation software company so I’ve also had far too much exposure to the world of litigation and the other end of the copyright debate. Interestingly, my experience early on with music sharing led me to buy huge numbers of LP’s, cassettes and then CD’s and yet today, I struggle with that line between sharing leading to sales as opposed to viewing it as nothing short of theft.  Video is a very interesting model as well as it is so incredibly easy for someone to take a clip of someone or something, autotune it and suddenly become Mecca for advertisers with or without including the subject in the upside.  Pictures are little different as it is so incredibly easy to capture images from someone online and then ‘use’ them for you own benefit.Again, this is an incredibly complex issue that doesn’t have a single answer, a single damage model, or 100% right or wrong other than I am 100% sure the answer doesn’t lie within a federal government switch.

  41. Bruce Warila

    As someone that is pro-copyright, I was not Pro SOPA, but I was strongly against STOP, as I was stumping for FIX.I’m happy to read this post this morning.  Thanks for further clarifying your position.  I’m looking forward to finding a solution that works for both creators and copiers 🙂

  42. Noah Lackstein

    If the content industry wants to stay relevant, then they have to let go of their current distribution model. They have to stop trying to invent scarcity, the byproduct of which is a limitation on the amount of the market, that is willing to pay them, that they reach.There will always be people who take creative content without paying. That doesn’t mean that the industry can’t monetize those people. Several years ago, I toyed with the idea of creating a site that would allow independent artists to grow a community of fans, and distribute their content on a “pay what you want” basis. Even though some users might take advantage of the system, and only directly pay the artists a few pennies for their work, I believed they could still be monetized as part of that artist’s network.Artists such as Radiohead and Louis CK have shown that this sort of distribution model can be very effective. The content industry has to accept this and figure out how to apply this model themselves. Engaged fans are powerful distribution tools—regardless of whether they’ve directly paid for the content—and that has value that can be captured.

  43. Alan Mendelevich

    First of all the copyright and content rights regulations should be done by a global organization in 21 century, not something “of America”. A huge chunk of piracy happens because digital content is not available legally in any form in many parts of the word. Where I live (Lithuania) there was no way to buy MP3s legally until the fall of 2011. Do they think people will go and buy CDs because they can’t buy MP3s?What is UN doing these days? Why don’t they take over all the copyright and IP issues on the global scale. Why does it have to be country specific?

    1. ShanaC

      exactly- content agreements needs to be universalized.  

    2. Antone Johnson

      Because views and values vary dramatically between countries and cultures.  Some, like France, focus on the “moral rights” of the creator which can be inalienable even if a corporate distributor is involved.  Others, like China, seem to have little respect for intellectual property in general — which, after all, is a semi-arbitrary legislative construct designed to encourage the creation of original works of authorship by maintaining scarcity at the point of distribution.  (For centuries if someone wrote a song, they might have been able to control copies of the sheet music being made, but nothing stopped competent musicians from learning it by ear and performing it without paying ongoing royalties to anyone.)  Bottom line, something like property crime (stealing someone else’s possessions) is far easier to agree upon in international treaties vs. more amorphous concepts of IP rights, in which countries’ interests are often diametrically opposed.

    3. Chris Brand

      Because the US content industries found that they were better able to get what they want through binational and multinational trade treaties than through organisations like WIPO where the BRIC countries had an equal say.

  44. richardgarand

    When Steve Blank posted on this, someone wrote a comment saying that many people in entertainment depend on residuals for income and when they feel this is threatened they push organizations like the MPAA to fight it. I’m far too removed to know anything about this, but what if fighting the executives is the wrong target? I don’t see the MPAA and RIAA taking a leadership position to bring their industries into the future, they seem too political. Can the tech community educate the entertainment community at a lower level and show them how to do better online? Can startups create better opportunities online for entertainers? Just look at the writer’s guild strike – when the individual creators know what they want they’ll take action. The situation is even somewhat familiar since a lot of people in technology face competition from cheap offshore developers or new technologies disrupting them. We’ve had to learn to compete instead of regulating for the most part and we can show others how. Combining the innovation of the tech community with the cultural significance of the entertainment industry would make a powerful force. It’s the classic sales challenge, we need to do a better job of showing the benefits instead of just saying “don’t worry, it won’t hurt much”.

  45. fhhindc

    Next up for the Interwebz pitchforkers ought to be the Enzi-Durbin bill S.1832 — Marketplace Fairness Act — which would require all merchants with more than $500k in online income to collect and pay state and local sales taxes to the 9,000 taxing entities across this great land of ours. Talk about a small business nightmare!See: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-b…

  46. Jason

    our industry should and needs to write the legislation for this and bring it to the floor before it resurfaces in another form.we have the muscle to get on the offensive and the sense to make effort to compromise.now it’s time to prove we can do more than just build great things of disruption.

  47. Ryan Tanaka

    How about streaming-only music?As someone who’s not affiliated with the industry, I’m trying the approach right now of distributing my music directly over YouTube ads since this allows me to directly embed a revenue stream into the music itself.  Some years ago I realized that the ease of which you could get pirated content, right or wrong, would probably warrant a new approach.  In about a month or so I’m going to go heavy into marketing mode and then see what happens — maybe it’ll work, maybe it wont.  I’m working with YouTube’s annotation system right now to shape the experience of the user — this keeps the content malleable (like software) while at the same time deterring piracy since it’d be kind of a pain to do it.The catch here is that for this model to work, it has to be streaming only — so you’ll have access either through the video (that’s owned by the artist) and radio (inc. Pandora, Spotify, etc.)  So no more albums, CDs, DVDs, Vinyl, etc.  Just streaming only, which turns it into a service, not an object. But assuming that you have internet and the ability to bookmark something, you still technically have the ability to access it at any time.In radio, it’s hoped that the Performing Rights Organizations are doing their job keeping tabs so that you can get your royalties from keeping these businesses afloat.There’s largely 2 ideals competing here: that “information should be free” and that artists should be compensated for their efforts.  I think you’ll find that most artists want both to happen, but because currently there doesn’t seem to be a reliable mechanism right now, most young musicians are scrambling as to what to do.  (I know, because I went through it myself.)  New business models will have to framed around the idea of combining these two things, I think.

  48. direwolff

    let’s also not lose sight of ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) which in effect is an attempt to export the worse of SOPA & PIPA and strong arm other countries into supporting it behind closed doors.  while i agree that going to war with the content industry on these maters is not the favorable outcome, i’m concerned that being old school in their approaches to biz models and to legislative strategy, means they don’t understand other modalities of operation.  they are fighting this war on so many fronts at the same time it’s some times hard to keep up with their next front.we’ve learned in the online services and even non-Hollywood content publishers, that the 90-10 models where 90% of the users experience the service, site or content for free, while the 10% who find it invaluable and begin to depend on it, actually sustain the service economically, works well.  in some cases, the advertising revenues due to the attention the service or publisher is getting from a desired demographic, helps supplement the 10% who are paying, helping the site become economically successful.  Hollywood appears to only understand 0-100 model where not only does everyone pay (whether it’s of value to them or not), but even freak occurrences of the content (fair-use) should also be compensated for.  It feels like we’re miles apart in terms of industry mindsets which makes compromise difficult.  Perhaps by the next generation of Hollywood leaders we can begin to see change (much as hope to see change in North Korea since Kim Jong Il passed on and his son has taken over).  Hopefully I’m wrong and positive change is closer than I think.

    1. William Mougayar

      I mentioned ACTA on this blog a couple of months ago, and no one picked-up on it. It has been signed by a dozen Western countries I think, and it is somewhat a shadow of SOPA at the international level.

      1. Antone Johnson

        I’m interested to learn more about ACTA, but I would emphasize that trade in counterfeit goods (mostly a trademark issue) differs from copyright infringement in fundamental ways.  To be clear, I think it’s wrongheaded to hold the middle-man (e.g., eBay) vicariously liable for its users’ trade in counterfeit goods, for policy reasons similar to those underlying the DMCA:  Who is best positioned to recognize and deal with infringing items?  The creator, not some intermediary handling millions of transactions and billions of page views.  Bad court decisions in France aside, current law generally makes the brand owner (e.g., Louis Vuitton) responsible for policing sales of infringing goods and issuing take-down notices.  There is also the opportunity for customs to actually seize counterfeit goods as the port of entry.Copyright is far more problematic because there are so many shades of gray involved.  Things like time-shifting and place-shifting, making backup copies, all kinds of fair use issues, ignoring license restrictions that are potentially invalid or unenforceable, and so forth.  This is why having *any* discussion of copyright policy — particularly in the era of social media — is fiendishly difficult.How do we deal with someone who technically circumvents a regional restriction to watch a (paid-for) movie in country A before Hollywood’s “windowing” allows it, even though it’s perfectly legal to watch in country B on the same date?  That’s copyright infringement because it exceeds the scope of the license.  Yet it would be absurd to take the MPAA view that such a thing is “stealing” and slap the consumer with $50K or more of statutory damages and attorneys’ fees when at the end of the day we’re talking about an unauthorized movie rental worth a few bucks.  That sort of thing needs to be hashed out, in detail, among people who really understand IP and the various technical, civil and criminal remedies that can be brought to bear.

  49. Modify Watches

    Had no idea the bills were proposed by RIAA and MPAA. Very much looking forward to learning from the ideas in the rest of the comments

  50. Nicholas Marx

    So is this basically a tug-of-war between content creators vs content distributors?

    1. Donna Brewington White

      More like a battle of life and death for the latter.

  51. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Fred – While I respect the need for discretion I think there is a greater good here.You state:”I can’t tell you how many Senators and Representatives have told me that they were told by the MPAA and the RIAA that the technology industry was on board and that these issues would not impact the Internet and tech community adversely.”.I think it would be of service to invite those Senators and Representatives to go on the record firstly regarding the lies they have apparently been told, and perhaps more importantly regarding the liars who told those lies. If lobbyists caught with pants down do not warrant exposure in the public interest, then I cannot think of anyone else who does.I realise I am calling on you to call in some of your credibility capital, but I suspect you have some to spare and I know this is important to you. Clearly a battle has been fought but a war is not over. Now may be the time to show the other side that we have teeth and are prepared to use them. Absent any moral hazard for lobbyists (not counting for much now anyway), the state of world politics can only descend yet deeper into the mire.

  52. MartinEdic

    The really stupid thing about this now dead legislation is that it was written to be a stalling tactic rather than legal guidelines. Simply put, it contained clauses that eliminated due process that never would have made it through the courts. Unconstitutional. But in the meantime the entertainment industry would have been going after piracy in the same idiotic way the record business went after ther own customers.I am in the publishing business and believe strongly in limited copyright protection but I also understand that with digital distribution innovation in pricing and IP is essential. The industry does not want to explore these things. Hence the stalling strategy.Btw Fred, I would love to see a discussion regarding new pricing models for media. Apple broke a big dam this week that materially affects the way creativity will be monetized.

    1. fredwilson

      what exactly do you mean by “new pricing models for media”?

  53. MartinEdic

    Interesting thought. Under this legislation as written President Obama’s performance of a snippet of an Al Green song at the Apollo could be seen as infringement. Ridiculous. But it is nice to have a POTUS who can carry a tune!

    1. Petersaltzman

      Not just carry a tune, the man could flat out sing! And you are right that it’s ridiculous that that could be seen as infringement.

    2. Antone Johnson

      It couldn’t be reasonably viewed as infringing.  An excerpt of five or six notes should be exempt under any normal interpretation of the fair use doctrine.

  54. Saltp

    The way forward is to render copyright obsolete (and is is already) through a technology that is fair to content creators (formerly known as artists) and easily, and freely used, and manipulated by end users ( formerly known as consumers) in a way that doesn’t violate the wishes od the former. I’m working on this now, with a new startup.

  55. ShanaC

    I’m just all levels of shocked that the MPAA went and said they consulted with the technology industry.  Why lie?  The internet gots muscles now, and long term will create better content and models to distribute….

  56. Twirrim

    These things are like Hydra, you kill them and more pop up in their place.We’ve got this now on the way: http://www.theatlantic.com/…  Watch what happens to the wording.The MPAA & RIAA are not stupid, they know no politician will vote AGAINST anything related to child pornography.  So watch for the failed provisions from SOPA/PIPA make their way into other related bills.  Then once precedent is established getting a SOPA/PIPA like bill through related to copyright will be trivial as precedent will have been established.

  57. James Gagan

    Startups need to try and find and promote content that is not owned by the major labels. Some of my thoughts about this here:  http://audiosearch.blogspot…

  58. LE

    “I have no doubt that a group of leaders from the tech community would be happy to sit down with the content industry and come up with an entirely new way to think about and address online piracy.”If not done correctly, and people skilled in this process are not employed, this could be lambs ready for slaughter and not turn out the best it can be. The other side is a well oiled machine as far as how this process works and how to manipulate a situation like this to their advantage. As they have done. They lost but they may have played the right strategy, to wit:”I can’t tell you how many Senators and Representatives have told me that they were told by the MPAA and the RIAA that the technology industry was on board and that these issues would not impact the Internet and tech community adversely”…in a sequence of events that could have turned out worse for them if they had asked for opinions in the first place. I don’t believe that this was any “boating accident” (my reference to what the Richard Dreyfuss character in Jaws said..)This is to important to do leanly or by “oops we’ll iterate”.There will only be one shot and it needs to be executed correctly to have the most beneficial end result.As a frame of reference the domain industry was asleep at the switch when UDRP and cybersquatting legislation came about and we pay for that everyday because the proper fight was not mounted.My suggestion is to make sure that experts are paid for and employed as part of this process.

    1. Antone Johnson

      Curious to know what you think is so bad about UDRP and cybersquatting legislation.  Where you stand depends on where you sit.  Who is “we” from your perspective?

      1. LE

        “We” is domain owners either individuals or companies that own portfolios. Or of course registrars.”what you think is so bad about UDRP “Not a question that can be answered quickly. In short:What started out as an idea that was good to protect companies and people that were targets of true infringement has become a system whereby someone (with the proper legal help) can claim a domain simply by having either a federal trademark or a common law trademark. And of course the fact that “cybersquatting” is considered anyone who owns a name that someone else feels entitled to.Unless the current owner is able to defend pro se  or has the resources to fight the UDRP in most cases they could loose for any number of reasons. (One might simply be not responding although I’ve seen cases where the panelists don’t always turn over a domain for non-response).I consult in this area regarding strategies useful for either side depending on the degree that I believe in the particular claim or party. I also act as an intermediary to companies who wish to keep or recover a domain without going the route of a UDRP.In general I think most are in agreement that the rules are greatly slanted toward intellectual property interests. And case history seems to support this.

  59. LE

    “The opposition was chaotic, distributed, diverse, uncoordinated and extremely effective in the end. Just like the Internet.”They did not anticipate that approach (like Vietnam). But that probably won’t happen again. They will come up with a strategy to blunt that going forward and where “they go from here”. I’m sure they have their meetings and strategy sessions already planned. 

    1. jason wright

      Vietnam? More like Adolf in his bunker.

      1. LE

        Vietnam is a reference to the US believing the fight was going to be a european ground war, failure to know about the resilience of the people, the existence and benefit of tunnels etc.

        1. jason wright

          Vietnamese society and economy was not an expansionist enterprise. It threatened to invade no one. Ground wars are to draw a line in the sand and say to the enemy ‘no further’. They went underground because they had nowhere else to retreat to. It was their land, not land that they had invaded and could retreat from.I always thought the primary reason for Vietnam was to wage war for economic ends. It is not an example of a war for an economic commodity such as oil as the end, but the economics of war itself as the end, the ‘war machine’… as consumer of production. The Japanese economic ‘miracle’ of the 1960s was no miracle.

          1. LE

            “primary reason”Communism. Prevent spread of. 

          2. jason wright

            Communism – the primary advertised selling point of the war, but not the primary reason. The money trail always leads to the answer.

  60. Alex Thompson

    I think the new model will come more as a disruption of the content companies than a partnership. Picking up on the success of Louis CK’s recent endeavors if you can create a new model that’s good for the internet but also makes the artists lives better then you can attract the great artists away from the traditional content companies.  

  61. Donna Brewington White

    The opposition to SOPA was broader than I knew.On the night of the 18th, my 16 year old who is not speaking to me momentarily called a truce to ask me if I’d heard of the internet blackout.  I showed him my Twitter stream, altered avatar, blacked out websites and my blog page that was disabled by Blogger for “malicious javascript.” I showed him @Vruz:disqus ‘s Twitter avatar — he got a kick out of that and it earned me a few points I could tell.  Having online interaction with people like Vruz ups my cool factor, for sure. He told me about his friends’ efforts to oppose SOPA — high school students.  They were fairly organized for a group of relatively nonchalant kids.  I had no idea.  So for a moment, separated by decades in many of our opinions and tastes, and separated by the throes of adolescence, we had a moment of camaraderie. I am proud of him for being aware of this and acting on his convictions.  While I am much more distant from all of this than you, Fred, and those in the tech community, I have a quiet, sober pleasure about this week’s outcome.  I understand that it doesn’t end the battle.  But this is a true victory, not just in outcome, but in method — how this battle was fought.  I’m really proud of this.  And hopeful.  And excited.  More and more, technology is providing leadership in positive and important ways.I am pretty passionate about the internet.  I have experienced opportunities that would not have been remotely (no pun intended) possible without the internet, in a way that my friends who grew up with more privilege cannot fully comprehend.  Every aspect of my life and much of my progress in recent years is intertwined with the ability to go online.  And I know that this is true for others even more so than I.  Even with the threats of piracy and other abuses, the internet truly is a source of liberation.  We have to fight to keep it that way.  So, yes, I am passionate.  

    1. fredwilson

      i’ve been through the 16 year old not talking to me thing. i hate it. i figure out a way to get them talking to me.

  62. jason wright

    All things come to pass. There might rise up an entirely new form of creative ‘art’ that takes advantage of interweb technologies. Movies as we know them may wither and die. It is an opportunity for new creatives and their new thinking to deliver the content we might all embrace and by the means of distribution we all want. The movie and TV industries were once both new forms of creativity based on new technologies. History repeats itself.  

  63. Terry Heaton

    Fred, Not sure I agree with you here. This is between Hollywood and the people formerly known as its customers, not between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. You’re a business guy, but this isn’t a business problem. Who represents the people in this? You? I don’t think so.Sorry,Terry

    1. fredwilson

      i’d be happy to stay out of it Terry, but the tech industry got dragged into this fight and we now have to deal with it.



    1. Cynthia Schames

      Dear Dino, Very interesting concept you outline here, but for a few small quibbles.  First of all, creation of content is necessarily a group endeavor the vast majority of the time.  So, “artist get 90%” isn’t actually a fair statement.  Second, creation of any music, film, TV (while it still exists) or other recorded art carries with it significant production cost.  So even the production of a high quality trailer or demo to put onto Kickstarter has a cost. Then there’s the cost of promotion of the project so that it can actually get made.Where do these upfront monies come from?  Would you propose a VC seed pool for the arts? (Which is actually a pretty awesome idea).Last but not least, I know this may be a foreign concept to your dino brain, but puny humans are as a species both fairly greedy and quite lazy. The successful artists, producers, directors and others involved in the entertainment/content business are not exactly highly incented to change the way they produce and deliver their wares, because it would mean forgoing millions of dollars and upending a system that has developed (albeit poorly) over the past 100 or so years of recording arts. They hold the power right now, regardless of how much we’d like to deceive ourselves that the consumer is in control.  Convince Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Alec Baldwin and Beyonce that a kickstarter/creative commons approach makes sense for everyone, and it might be a start.



        1. Christopher Paul

          Good explanation from a (fake) Dinosaur. The irony is fantastic… a dinosaur telling people to be like mammals… not dinosaurs.I agree w/ FAKE GRIMLOCK. Don’t be a victim of a mass-extinction event be it a Baptistina asteroid or the internet.

          1. Cynthia Schames

            Well, the consumers won’t be victims..  Entrepreneurs potentially can be victims if they miss this opportunity.  Likely, Hollywood will be the victim. And to that I say hooray.But my whole point here is that this change is not the type that’s going to happen in a moment, like when an asteroid hits.  It relies on cattle-prodding the slow moving consumer, gaining buy-in from peers, and obliterating a bloated and horrible yet powerful series of incumbents. 

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        2. Cynthia Schames

          What you say is theoretically brilliant, as usual.  However, my dear romantic dinosaur, I think you’re overstating the proportion of content creators who are driven to produce art solely for art’s sake. Musicians want to get laid. Actors want fame and fortune.Directors fall closest to your paradigm of art for art’s sake. Bit of trivia about me: I am the child of a professional musician and spent the first 20+ years of my life as a performing artist, including TV and Broadway touring companies. Then in college, I majored in music for a minute before I realized that bacon’s expensive and I’d like to continue being able to buy it for the rest of my life.  Changed major to communication, which in my case was video production. I’ve first-hand knowledge of the current system of movie production because of that, and subsequent ventures.  It’s entirely possible (likely) that my deep immersion into the entertainment world is coloring my non-mammalian view here. I’m not disagreeing that you have a great idea, I just think it’s bloody unlikely to actually happen.  I would love to see it, though.  It would be very interesting to see what consumers think of being tasked with help produce the kinds of content they want to consume, and ultimately, what sorts of content that yields.  But there’s a reason early adopters are the minority–because the vast majority of people don’t generally want to think that hard, commit that fully, or have anything asked of them.  They want to sit, open-mouthed, and simply…consume.

          1. LE

            @FakeGrimlock:disqus appears to think everything should be open source … creative commons .. whatever.  Or from what I understand funded in advance by kickstarter esq projects and then become open source. So we remove the current risk layer that is the controlling middleman.  Because middleman are parasites and they are bad! All of them!I’m sure FG wouldn’t like someone coming along and deciding one day to steal his IP (like his image as one example) and earning a living off it. Because it would take away from him being FG. Of course he could switch to another persona (like fake steve jobs) but his investment in his brand is not something he wants to loose. There is a story or joke called “russian shirt off back”. It deals with a man who says “if I had a million dollars I’d give you half!!”. So the other person says “can I have your shirt?”. And of course the answer is “no”. So you can promise anything and say anything if you don’t have to back it up or if it doesn’t hit home at that particular moment.Now I don’t know FG in any way so he might really believe what he is saying or maybe he is the rare breed that could pull off that type of thinking.  But I believe more likely, as you seem to be saying, that the majority of content  producers want to get laid. And to get paid.”Then in college, I majored in music for a minute before I realized that bacon’s expensive”The above statement proves that in fact you are not a true artist!!! Because the amount of artists that would realize that that quickly is very small. Artists are dreamers and put that above everything else.  I don’t see most of them as practical in their pursuit of art.  I mean if you really like art or anything else then make money. Then you will be free to do whatever you want to do at any time as long as you can earn a living doing something else.Creative types. It’s important to do what you like. But money and practicality is also important in determining how you make a living. 

          2. another cultural landslide

            Years ago, Frank Zappa said it best:”If you make music because ‘you make music’ because you think you’ll make money – or worse yet – because you think ‘people will like it’ – then you’re in the wrong business.”He was right. (We say that as working musicians – at least, that’s what the IRS says we are). As a musician, if you rely upon being paid for your IP as your economic model – you’re living in the wrong century and you’re doomed to fail. Thing is, smart legacy musicians (like David Bowie) have been saying this for the last 15 years or so. Things change. To survive, evolve.It’s strange that a dinosaur has to tell people that.

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          4. Cynthia Schames

            LE, I don’t claim to be an artist. I was a performer who is the child of a true artist. Growing up that way showed me that art for art’s sake is wonderful for the artist who’s creating, maybe wonderful for the public who’s consuming, and really quite awful for the child who’s dependent.And also: everything FAKEGRIMLOCK does is in fact Creative Commons. And he gives quite generously of his time & thoughts to thousands of people every day. I have a sneaking suspicion that he probably has “better” things to do, but he engages. Relentlessly. For the good of others. I may not fully buy into his vision on this, but I can tell you right now that he’s one smart dinosaur, and if he says it, likely it’s worth considering.

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          6. Ryan Tanaka

            Well how many of them are earning a living being on DeviantArt?  Most people on there are hobbyists — nothing wrong with that — but getting your stuff to pay the bills is a whole ‘nother issue.I’m not too keen on the Loius C.K. example because he’s already famous and he can get a good return even when his stuff gets pirated.  I’m just hoping that people don’t start using him as an example of “you could do it too”, because his situation just doesn’t apply to most aspiring and working artists.  It seems unwise to push the idea that the only means artists have of making a living is to just hope and pray that people will pay them if they feel like it.The solution would be something the embeds both security and compensation into the medium themselves — something that I’m working on here at the lab.

          7. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        3. jason wright

          “THINK LIKE DINOSAUR NOT GOOD IDEA.” – epitaph?

      2. Guest

        In fact, I proposed something just like this on a post I made the other day (and happened to tag/cc Fred on it so he could see it). “Would you propose a VC seed pool for the arts?” I agree the necessity of upfront monies makes the creative production world and VC world not so distant cousins at all. Nice post.    ~ Geoffrey

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          Geoffrey,If you want to see if your infrastructure can prove profitable for content, then obviously a VC seed pool for the arts is a great idea!

    2. Michael Elling

      Dino is to analog as mammal is to digital. That said, before both sides can sit down they have to speak the same language and leave their religious suasions behind.  Vint Cerf’s recent Op-ed got me writing about the counter-intuitive actions that may have to be taken in response to the often paradoxical nature of the issues at hand. A good starting point is to agree on how we got here and not people’s false perceptions of the past:  http://bit.ly/z85txa.  What is needed is an exchange model that rewards risk taking and value creation. This exchange model is actually a series of clearinghouses (balanced payment systems) at every layer that take into account the needs and preferences of producers, brokers and buyers.  Social media is actually developing a lot of the data architectures to achieve this; so it’s a matter of redirecting the energy already being generated.  On the other hand few realize that the recent shift towards bill and keep (calling party pays) network compensation has set us back enormously.  Without called party pays how do you have 800, ad-sponsored, vpn, etc  ; basically what everything we now take for granted (low cost internet, mobility, etc…) is based on.  We no longer have a govt mandated clearinghouse (pricing) mechanism for new service (network) creation.  We are running into a massive bandwidth brick wall which will retard everyone’s opportunities on this thread.



        1. Michael Elling

          DECEPTION.Price arbitrage retail/economic-cost widest since 1984. Football terms Drew Bledsoe score 50 yards through massive hole.SINGLE FLAT RATE FOR ALL BETTER.Subscription/prepaid flat/simple works; enhanced via “marketing hook”. 20 year history winning competitive service provider pricing models. Tier ok, adds layer confusion. ATT data pricing sheer idiocracy.Subsidized (free access) model better. Communications event tied to commercial transaction: value derived infinite. Example: 20 year flip flop 800 pricing (voice) and price of internet ads (data) via auction (exchange market).Market needs balanced payment/settlement exchange/framework. Terminating fee good. IP world not understand due genesis of internet borne commoditized WAN pricing and flat rate lata pricing mid/late 1980s. Law of unintended consequences.Once in place, revenue: 80% free access/20% subscription.INFRASTRUCTURE THEREInfrastructure virtually there; WiFi offload. Smartphone huge Trojan horse backdoor walled garden. Mid-mile (backhaul) problem. More (distributed) fiber, MIMO. Cloud access concentrated. Hybrid access. Free France THE way.Enjoying warm winter, Dino?

  65. Chris Phenner

    I was encouraged to see Fred’s use of the term ‘framework,’ which he used six(6)  times in this thread, and only two commenters had used the term by 4p ET on Saturday 1/21.  ‘Industry’ was used 82 times and ‘power’ was used 24 times.But what’s a ‘framework?’  Creative Commons came to mind.  Then Ruby on Rails, Python, DNS and then top-level domains (TLDs).I thought SOPA/PIPA came down to the legal authority to muck with DNS.  I know there are higher and more abstracted, intellectual meanings to SOPA/PIPA, but in the rubber-meets-road context, isn’t the phrase ‘shut down at the DNS level’ the framework that was under attack?So I think a new ‘framework’ is a good thing, and I think Creative Commons combined with architectural framework-y-ness and financial incentives would be a great thing.I’m imagining content tagged with a watermark-y GUID and being freely-available, provided the consumption of that content were transparently reported upon and if (say) distribution levels exceeded a certain threshhold, limitations would then apply.  So content folks could see ‘piracy’ via data streams at smaller volumes, and then license into those territories.A scenario like the above involves rules, bits, data and money, and an org that can pull together all those aspects deserves to be its own, shiny-new framework.Nit:  I would leave ‘Hacking’ out of the NewOrg’s name.  It’s cool-sounding but I think it’s scary to most who live outside the industry (and who need to be convinced).

    1. fredwilson

      yup. i totally agree.

    2. Michael Elling

      Good points.  Additional key words in this discussion:  scarcity, direct, flat, free, eliminate, middle, value, disruption, olive-branch.   What I haven’t seen: risk, exchange, directory.  I tend towards a flat orientation and support vertical completeness (ecosystem) over vertical integration (monopoly).  The flat world is made up of many layers and many middles.  So really we need to think about risk on both sides of the transaction in the exchange model (or framework).  And that requires a directory that is open and accessible to producers, brokers and buyers.  Then we can have unlimited content and service creation opportunities.  The same folks saying “down with the middle men” were probably listening to iTunes; aka the new middleman.

  66. direwolff

    fred, i’m sure you’ve heard about Dodd’s veiled threats to the President and Congress (http://bit.ly/w980PF).  it’s this sort of thing that makes it difficult to work with the MPAA as it is run currently.  feels like the next effort that should be undertaken by the community in the same spirit as stopping SOPA, is to get Dodd out because he’s showing that he clearly doesn’t understand what’s going on and insists on playing by the old and only set of rules he knows.

  67. AmericaFree.TV

    Over two centuries ago the people, through their representatives, gave content creators some temporary monopolies in order to advance the arts and sciences. The people have now clearly taken some of these temporary powers back. It is taking their representatives some time to recognize this change, but in due course they will. Any “solution” that does not recognize this fundamental change is no solution at all. 

  68. JLM

    You — the collective you — are being a bit tough on yourselves.  You deserve a victory lap around the campfire.  Enoy it.The resistance won the day because it had the “right” idea and passion while the old order had greed and the status quo.You won.  Celebrate.  Learn and then go do it again.The other side is licking their wounds and plotting and next time they will move more quickly.  Stay tuned.

  69. AlexBangash

    Y Combinator and startups like Prescreen are going to disrupt the movie distribution business.  That hopefully will be the solution.  

    1. LE

      An interesting idea. I like that. Although the content isn’t really “must see TV”. It’s indie and documentary. I watch plenty of those. But you don’t need to see them right away and they aren’t hyped like mainstream films are. So right now this is a platform for those types of pictures.And prescreen is a middleman, just another sort of middleman. (Which is fine by me I’m just pointing that out).In order to get a film featured on prescreen you have to pass by their filter chokepoint since they are a curated platform.  This is not youtube cream rises to the top. Prescreen is a curated social discovery video-on-demand platform designed to promote and showcase premium content. We feature entertaining, enlightening, and educational content with the goal of creating conversations around movies and helping content owners find an audience they otherwise would not have the ability to reach.They also have viewing windows. The films are only on the site for a limited amount of time.Several of prescreens co-founders appear to have primarily financial backgrounds (The CEO was VP of business development at Groupon before leaving to do this). So who knows long term how this site will develop to disrupt or just displace someone else.

      1. AlexBangash

        Good points but as you pointed this is the beginning. Once the chokepoints of traditional studios who control distribution are broken, the notion of what is quality will change and lower cost (higher quality) will be mass-marketed.The founders of Prescreen are phenomenal entrepreneurs and they are executing brilliantly. 

    2. fredwilson

      i thought the YC post/attitude struck the wrong tonebut i know a lot of people who liked it

    1. fredwilson

      funny picture

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        Its time that the Fred Wilson “brand” hire its self a publicist….

  70. civis isus

    Key element of any strategy: find a way to help that titanic idiot Chris Dodd keep his job at MPAA. With incompetent “emenies” like him, you hardly need friends!

  71. Janet Johnson

    Unless you are selling the copyright material on your website should your website still be classed as having copyright material or at risk of being shut down or worse .???

  72. ArmandoKirwin

    There are a lot of comments on this post, but I’m going to attempt to chime in from the EVIL Hollywood perspective.First, let me make it known that I am 100% anti-SOPA/PIPA (I called my representatives six times), but the armchair punditry and belligerent “Kill Hollywood” explosion I’ve witnessed over the last few days has infuriated me to no end. When I left Paramount to do a software startup, at least I knew what the hell I was taking about.Regarding Nat Torkington’s rant: It’s true that the tech industry “gave” us many things, HOWEVER, MP3’s are meaningless without audio content, MP4 is meaningless without video content, Netflix is meaningless without movie content, iTunes is meaningless without music content… you get the point. In fact, between bittorrent and Netflix, it appears that half of the Internet (if not more) is used to share CONTENT. So yes, thank you for the pipes, but for the love of all that’s holy, try and keep in mind what people are ACTUALLY paying for here! Hint: it’s not 3G, wifi, iPads, or iPhones, those are merely the vessels to what is actually valuable to the user: the content! What do you think is the driving force behind the evolution of technology? Sheesh! I’m asking that all of you engineers take a breather and try to gain some damn perspective.Yes, the film industry’s organizational structure appears to be outdated. Yes, the theatrical distribution model seems counterintuitive. Yes, yes, yes! But… Record revenues (or close to it) continue year after year. Revenue from theaters still represents $30 billion of the ~$90 billion dollars the industry rakes in each year. Growth in China is almost 40% annually. The film industry isn’t exactly in a hurry to abandon the scarcity model.Bottom line, there are a lot of elements at play here. Please, please, please get some perspective before you go off extolling the virtues of your newest “platform.” There are ways to disrupt Hollywood, both in a Schumpeterian way, and in a collaborative way, but I have yet to see anything that truly encapsulates the content industry’s needs in a meaningful way.Thanks for listening to my rant!P.S. And this one’s for GRIMLOCK: Crowd funding is to killing Hollywood, as Kickstarter is to killing Apple.

    1. d5

      Thank you, this is the first comment/blog in the last 2 weeks that actually sees the issue with some “perspective”. Its amazing how the IT industry thinks so highly of its self. (btw I’m a multimedia developer).

      1. ArmandoKirwin

        Thank you for caring! At least Fred Wilson is talking about “shared goals and objectives” with content creators as opposed to simply disrupting or “killing” them (although, most of the ideas on disruption seem incredibly misguided at this point, so I’m not particularly concerned). The startup I’m working for is actually attempting a disruption of the theatrical market, but we’re approaching it in a way that creates overall growth for the industry. That being said, any disruption that is based merely on distribution is really only a business with a five year horizon. True disruption, i.e. a non-sustaining, radical transformation and replacement of Hollywood, must be focused on the content side of the equation. Again, this is because it’s not the method of distribution that’s difficult (we already have delivery platforms ad nauseam), it’s the experiencing of content in an novel way that matters. That’s where the real disruption will occur.

    2. fredwilson

      i like your rant and agree with most everything you said

      1. ArmandoKirwin

        Thank you Fred. There are people in the film industry who are just as interested in technological progress as the rest of the world, however, if our opinions are taken into account during the transformative process, it will be better for everyone. I’m personally willing to do my part and talk to anyone who’s creating a startup in this area.

  73. ArmandoKirwin

    GRIMLOCK,I referenced you in my reply to this blog post, but I wanted to make sure that you saw it:GRIMLOCK: Crowd funding is to killing Hollywood, as Kickstarter is to killing Apple.It’s not going to happen for a long long time.

  74. Richard

    Ok, MPAA  got piss poor advice on SOPA, but Hollywood has always used the throw it against the wall and see if it sticks technique.  But this is hollywood, a 100 year old icon that is still best in class and filled with artists and entrepreneurs and engineers See or revisit the “Aviator”. Hollywood is way different than the pathetic music industry. She deserves not be F’ed with. America has two real icons, the boys of summer and the girls of tinseltown.  My instincts say don’t F  the baseball gods or hollywood goddesses.  As for a solution, let’s help MPAA get rid of need for the skunks called cable and yes, netflix, and introduce a direct relationship between the the production company and the viewer.

  75. JamesHRH

    “a framework that is based on a partnership between the content and technology industries”To quote the first President Bush ” not gonna happen “.Disruptees & disruptors don’t partner well, just ask the folks @ Hulu.More SOPA / PIPA style efforts are to come. The folks in the ‘content industry’ are the distribution inefficiency that the Internet obliterates. If you believe that ‘politics appears when people stand to lose something’, then the content industry will be playing politics – hardball – for quite some time.Hey, they still can’t believe they let Steve work them over.

  76. Brian Clark

    Hate that you adopt their language and refer to them as the “content” industry. Without content, the Internet is superfluous, and we (including you, Fred) make the majority of that content, not Hollywood.

  77. jason wright

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/t…Interesting movement.The point about the crazy mega high cost of producing Hollywood blockbusters is an interesting one. It’s as if that cost structure is central to a deliberate strategy, designed as an anti competitive barrier to entry for any entrepreneurial creative wanting to make movies outside the ‘system’. It forms a monopoly pool of talent within the control of the studios.

  78. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    Question for the community:Does anyone know of a software that would allow someone to write/create a book that then could be sold via a website?  (I am guessing on the website thing).I met a group of professors that want to start producing their own textbooks for their classes and they need a software that allows them to write, publish, create printed products and they want to create ebooks (mostly ebooks).Any suggestions?  

    1. Cam MacRae

      Lyx -> export to PDF -> Lulu.com

    2. Dale Allyn

      I think Charlie gave you the reply I had in mind (didn’t follow his link, but Apple and Amazon have options). Here’s what Apple announced and released this past week: http://www.apple.com/ibooks…

  79. Shawn Cohen

    If you aren’t already, you might want to get in touch w/ the folks at http://www.demandprogress.org. Their emails were pretty effective at reminding me to stay involved.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. we know them well and are big fans

  80. kosso

    Nice post.By the way, something I’d missed until today, which I find quite worrying is that some works in the public domain are now to be stamped as ‘copyrighted’.It happened on 18th while no one was looking (or was ‘blacked out’) : http://www.techdirt.com/art…A worrying precedent and sign of things to come?

  81. Peter G

    It’s a shame that the content industry still sees their customers as potential criminals rather than as potential advocates.. We look forward to your ideas about partnerships between the content and technology industries. We’d also like to see content industries trying to partner with consumers.

  82. Boomerguy

    I’m a member of the content industry.  I couldn’t agree with you more!  My finances are directly tied to content and the ability to successfully monetize it.  With it’s current pirating my financial future is directly threatened.  I’d give my name and the Hollywood Studio I work at but lack of success of what the MPAA and RIAA has wrought is just – barely – beginning to sink in. Doing so would get my ass terminated in short order.  We need a collaborative approach which understands and respects the business models of each faction; indeed we need a common business model which acknowledges the strengths of each side and the fact that interdependence on each other other is a great way to make buckets more of profits.  I wish you good luck!

  83. lawrence coburn

    I prefer this approach to “let’s kill Hollywood.”

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, that didn’t work for me either

  84. Augurae

    That’s the most hypocritical & consensual piece of crap I’ve read.Proves that your “content industry” is also not worth of any of my involvement or money

    1. fredwilson

      care to explain your point of view with us?

  85. Gerard Corbett

    Good thoughts and leadership at it best!

  86. Richard Bennett

    Your main points are factually incorrect. In the first place, the tech industry does have organizations that parallel MPAA an RIAA; they’re called the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and Technet.They organized the lobbying in Washington against these bills, just as they lobby every day for the industry’s interests in DC and in the state capitols.Below the direct lobbying firms there is a network of academic centers and think tanks that the tech industry supports who were directly involved in creating the policy arguments against these bills. Berkman Center, EFF, Public Knowledge, the Stanford Center in Internet and Society and the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law are supported by Google and firms with similar interests. Many of these arguments were factually incorrect as well,  and that will be a topic of further discussions in this space.These bills were not presented without consultation with tech. Their Congressional sponsors talked to the parties most affected – ISPs – as the bills were written. Sponsor settled on the DNS filtering method because it is the least intrusive means to accomplish the goal. Search engines obviously don’t want a burden, so they organized the ill-informed opposition and supplied them with the crazy arguments about how PIPA was going to shut down US blogs on the basis of links in comments. Nothing in the bills authorized this action by any reasonable interpretation. Similarly, there never was a threat to DNS security, but a few Randian goofballs were found and paid to say there was.Finally, since when are you outraged at one industry trying to regulate another? This was exactly the point of Net Neutrality: Content indexers and distributors, legal and otherwise, want to regulate network operators. You’re on board with that, aren’t you? What goes around comes around.Most of the opposition to SOPA and PIPA came from organizations who were tricked into believing they were going to be affected when in fact they weren’t. The idea that these bills had anything to do with Reddit is completely laughable and a testimony to the naivete and gullibility of the startups. The opposition’s strings were being pulled by firms that did stand to be affected, but they still have no clue about how the drama was created and orchestrated. But Washington knows, even if small tech is still clueless.As far as frameworks for tech and content to cooperate, there is one: It’s called copyright law. Observe it, amend it, follow it, and make your deals within its context and you’ll be fine. Why do you think Larry Lessig has a career?

    1. Antone Johnson

      This comment is factually incorrect or misleading on many levels.  The notion that ITI or Technet is in any way comparable to MPAA or RIAA is absurd.  They offer nowhere near the amount of unanimity, sheer wealth and influence that the Hollywood organizations do.  Anyone who’s followed tech policy knows it’s been an incessant struggle to herd the cats for decades, particularly because dominant players come and go with such incredible speed.  Facebook didn’t exist ten years ago.  The players most influential in shaping CDA and DMCA were companies like AOL, Prodigy, AT&T and so forth — years before YouTube or MySpace were twinkles in their founders’ eyes.The notion that ISPs are “the parties most affected” is even more absurd.  Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the photo sharing sites would be the most affected, together with search engines like Google and Bing.  Penalizing sites for even linking to other sites that contain infringing content is a great way to legislate them out of existence.  The twin safe harbors of DMCA section 512 and CDA section 230 made the social media revolution possible.  Without those protections, every major UGC site would have been sued out of existence by rights owners within weeks.Since when is Sandia National Labs fairly characterized as “a few Randian goofballs … found and paid to say there was” a security threat to DNSSEC?Finally, it’s incredibly patronizing to paint the 1,000-plus organizations and individuals listed on the CDT site as publicly opposing SOPA and PIPA (including myself) as having been “tricked” into anything.  Read law professors from Laurence Tribe to Larry Lessig to Mark Lemley or Eric Goldman to get a sense of what real experts who actually know what they’re taking about think — and you’ll find monolithic, unanimous opposition to these bills.  I challenge you to find one credible IP or Internet law professor at a respectable US law school who supports SOPA/PIPA.  Good luck with that.

      1. fredwilson

        thanks for responding on my behalf Antone. i don’t want to talk about the past. so i focused on the future in my reply to Richard.

      2. Richard Bennett

        Your most significant misunderstanding, Antone, is the idea that SOPA and PIPA are in any way targeted at any firms other than the offshore pirates and the ISPs and search engines that provide access to them. There is nothing in the bill about any other kind of business, and certainly no suggestion that social media sites are under the microscope. You’re repeating the Big Lie about the bills that was spread in order to get the second and third tier of web businesses scared. I’ve talked to Goldman about this and his response was that the language of the bills literally doesn’t matter because cops will go wild enforcing orders in a system that actually gives the cops no role.The fact that a number of academics simply dusted off their old anti-DMCA arguments (and in some cases, Lessig’s Eldred arguments) and recycled them against these bills doesn’t give me any confidence that they’re paying attention and not just following orders.One specific issue about Len Napolitano, the Sandia Labs manager, needs to be clarified: he was asked to comment on DNS filtering, but instead spoke to the specific use of DNS redirection in Protect IP. His analysis was correct on the facts it cited, but it failed to address the actual question that was put to him in its totality. Redirection is inconsistent with DNSSEC, but there are other methods that are not.As to whether ITI is as influential as MPAA, I think you will have to admit that this is a matter of the tech industry’s smaller players’ choice. The larger firms (Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Google, the Telcos and cable companies, et al.) are members and with their support ITI does some very significant work in DC; it was right in the middle of the net neutrality discussions, as you should recall. If the smaller companies are too navel-focused to sign up, that’s hardly ITI’s fault or for a lack of effort on their part. The point is that the institutions exist, so all that’s needed is a little more support from the free riders. I’m sure ITI will be glad to welcome them into the fold.

        1. fredwilson

          richard, you need to understand that no industry wants another industry trying to regulate themthe alcohol industry doesn’t force automakers to install breathalyzers in auto ignition systemsif we approach this as a voluntary opt-in partnership driven discussion to make more money together, i think we stand a better chance of getting to a good answer

          1. Richard Bennett

            Yes, the net neutrality kerfuffle taught that lesson.

    2. fredwilson

      do you care to sit down and talk about a better path forward or do you still want to debate how we got to this point?

      1. Richard Bennett

        I’m happy to sit down with anyone who’s serious about addressing the problem of piracy as well as the host of other Internet-related policy issues that face lawmakers in Washington, Fred. That’s why I gave up network engineering three years ago to work with a DC think tank. The first step is taking stock of where we are, then we set some goals, then develop an action plan. 

        1. fredwilson

          let’s do it. i assume you are located in DC?

          1. Richard Bennett

            I’m in Silicon Valley, but I get to DC quite a lot. Drop me a note at richard at bennett dot com as your plans take you to either place.

  87. paramendra

    The solution is tech heavy, data heavy. Super targeted ads on which “free” content floats. 

  88. paramendra

    The Solution Is Tech Heavy, Data Heavy http://t.co/Yt0FFwQa  

  89. brianstorms

    My thoughts on SOPA, PIPA, and the entertainment industry:  “Kill Y Combinator”http://blog.moviegoer.com/p…

    1. fredwilson

      i couldn’t comment on your blog Brian. but i agree 100% with you.

  90. Josslossboss

    The content industries need a new model that recognises that Content Is No Longer King. It is not a case of ‘out with the old, in with the new’. New models are emerging that embrace the best of the ‘traditional’ systems and the best of the new.
Content industries continue (or choose) to forget that consumers are people who want to engage more with their passions and interests, with how they ‘spend’ their Attention. People are no longer passive. And this is especially so on the net.Kevin Kelly outlines a range of ‘Value Generatives’ ( http://www.kk.org/thetechni… such as immediacy, authenticity, personalisation…etc.These generatives add to, and even in some cases replace, our experience with the content. Indie and blockbuster filmmakers know this: check out Transmedia/Multi-Platform Storytelling, and also media pioneer Lance Weiler, who sits on the The World Economic Forum’s Committee for the future of content.Piracy and concern for the artist is a ruse. A 2010 MPAA commissioned report found that online piracy is actually lower in countries with more legal download options, yet this is not highlighted by MPAA. Piracy is an issue, but it is hubris, lack of business creativity, and incumbents’ concern for canabilising their distribution channels that drives SOPA.Content is no longer King. And yep!, the internet, like the ‘talking movies’ 80 years ago, is the future. New viable ways of making, distributing, and extending the experience of content are being explored.
And now, to support these artists, new business and internet-platform models are emerging (see: movr.com) to ensure consumers/peoples’ needs are met, and everyone gets their fair share. These models also involve the ‘middle-men’ and the big content players.

  91. Josslossboss

    The content industries need a new model that recognises that Content Is No Longer King. It is not a case of ‘out with the old, in with the new’. New models are emerging that embrace the best of the ‘traditional’ systems and the best of the new.
Content industries continue (or choose) to forget that consumers are people who want to engage more with their passions and interests, with how they ‘spend’ their Attention. People are no longer passive. And this is especially so on the net.Kevin Kelly outlines a range of ‘Value Generatives’ ( http://www.kk.org/thetechni… such as immediacy, authenticity, personalisation…etc.These generatives add to, and even in some cases replace, our experience with the content. Indie and blockbuster filmmakers know this: check out Transmedia/Multi-Platform Storytelling, and also media pioneer Lance Weiler, who sits on the The World Economic Forum’s Committee for the future of content.Piracy and concern for the artist is a ruse. A 2010 MPAA commissioned report found that online piracy is actually lower in countries with more legal download options, yet this is not highlighted by MPAA. Piracy is an issue, but it is hubris, lack of business creativity, and incumbents’ concern for canabilising their distribution channels that drives SOPA.Content is no longer King. And yep!, the internet, like the ‘talking movies’ 80 years ago, is the future. New viable ways of making, distributing, and extending the experience of content are being explored.
And now, to support these artists, new business and internet-platform models are emerging (see: movr.com) to ensure consumers/peoples’ needs are met, and everyone gets their fair share. These models also involve the ‘middle-men’ and the big content players.

  92. Valentin

    Thanks for this. It is clear that something has to be done when the current status quo has allowed cancers like Megaupload to grow so big.I’ll be very interested to follow how this develops.I also agree that the reaction of Anonymous was deplorable and for me this is a sign how the ‘free speech’ dictum is overabused these days and a lot of people are completely clueless about what it means, especially online.

  93. jason wright

    Well worth a read.’Kill Hollywood – really?’http://www.launch.is/blog/w…

  94. Richard Reisman

    I suggest the kind of framework Fred is asking for, that will work for content and technology industries, is a radically new model for content sales on the Internet, which I call FairPay–one that exploits the nature of the internet (low marginal cost and ability to manage ongoing buyer-seller relationships) rather than fighting or ignoring it.  This works as an alternative to conventional pricing and relies on a structured balance of powers in which the consumer sets an individualized price they think fair, and the business continues to permit FairPay transactions as long as they agree that consumer is “fair” about the price. That can improve profits and efficiency, and empower relationships based on fair value exchange. Think of a privilege that is earned and maintained — a zone of pricing freedom, a “FairPay Zone.”How this can solve the problems of piracy is suggested in the following portions of my 1/17 blog post on “PIPA and SOPA — FairPay and the Death of Piracy” (athttp://www.fairpayzone.co…Fairness and Piracy:Robert Levine’s [book] “Free Ride” provides a nice summary of many of the issues of piracy, and makes it clear that some level of piracy is inevitable, with a level that depends on a number of factors, including:1. The ease and effectiveness of piracy relative to any issues of quality and risk.2. The ease and effectiveness of legitimate sources.3. The cost of legitimate access (relative to piracy)4. Social and ethical factors relating to the legitimacy of the IP owner, and the fairness of stealing from them (stealing service, not bits).It is well known that the Internet has shifted at least #1 and #4 toward piracy.I suggest the real solution is not laws and other efforts to shift #1 (although some modest improvement may be gained), but to shift #2-4, and especially #4. The value of shifting #2 and #3 are well known, and summarized by Levine. What is less clear is how important #4, fairness, is.Robin Hood, FairPay, and the death of piracyAs described elsewhere on this blog, FairPay is a new model for transactions related to copyrighted content that lets buyers pay what they think fair, within limits.–When buyers can buy legitimately for a price they accept as fair, the cost becomes a non-issue. Those who have limited means or get little value can still buy for a price that considers those factors fairly.–When buyers can buy legitimately for a price they accept as fair, the fairness of piracy becomes clearly insupportable for all but the most sociopathic. It is hard to argue that “information wants to be free” (as in free beer), when it is free enough.Piracy is a tax imposed by the people on sellers of IP, a Robin Hood tax. When the price of content seems onerous, people feel they should not have to pay for it, and piracy appears justified. It is seen as noble for the poor to steal from the oppressive rich.Killing the demand for piracy, not the supplyAs with any illegitimate product, it is generally easier and more effective to reduce demand, not to choke off supply. That is best done not by legislation, but by making the legitimate alternative more attractive.There are a number of interrelated levers to move in that direction:–FairPay pricing is a significant step in the right direction, one that also supports the following steps. It makes prices more suited to individual buyers needs, values, and ability to pay. Copyright owners are given the right to extract “monopoly rents,” but must balance that with the quid pro quo of society’s desire to benefit from their creations.–Making sellers more legitimate in the eyes of consumers is also a major factor. To the extent the IP owners are seen as evil and rigid, faceless corporations that exploit their consumers (and their creators), it is easy to justify stealing from them. Showing that they listen to consumers and can be flexible in pricing will greatly increase perceived legitimacy and deservedness.–Getting sellers to be more clearly respectful of creators can also have a big effect. Many studios (such as music labels) are perceived as sharing little of their profit with their artists. While they do have real costs of nurturing, marketing, and managing, clearly the Internet is shifting that toward what Seth Godin calls “skinnier” models. IP aggregators must either get skinny, or demonstrate why they deserve the share they get, and be transparent about how much they share with the creators.FairPay is not essential to all of these levers, but it can contribute significantly to all of them.When buyers set prices, no man will be a pirate.That may not be true in every case, but it is true enough.

  95. awaldstein

    Charlie…this is my favorite comment (and post) of yours. Straight from the heart.I’m with you completely.

  96. Dale Allyn

    Charlie, great comment. I was typing (slowly) before your comment posted. I really agree with your comment and appreciate your personal perspective. A strong point is that given good quality, a great UX/UI, ease of locating the content, etc., people will buy it – they don’t want to steal content. Put a desirable price on it, make it easy to access, and watch the dough roll in for the artists, and those who help to make it all happen. 

  97. William Mougayar

    I vote Charlie for a Washington Lobby job ! I can see you making these arguments during a hearing. Why don’t you write an Op-Ed and send it to the NY Times? Your last line is the headline.

  98. christopolis

    I think Lou Pearlman and countless other execs/producers show your argument is very hollow. Artists are often only one part of the equation and often a very interchangeable part. 

  99. JLM

    “This isn’t about piracy–that’s a red herring.  It’s about the direct model.”Bingo!Well said and well played.The world — the Internet world — IS flat (democratic) and the old school content institutions/models do not like that.It really doesn’t matter whether it is right or wrong — it is real.And reality plays trump.  Always.  All ways.

  100. fredwilson

    well i wrote about scarcity last weekend and the problems with it. the framework for anti-piracy includes addressing the scarcity issue front and center. it’s a big part, but not the only part, of the solution

  101. tvrob

    well said.  btw, i’d love to be able to find/locate more friends like yours in NY…I’m interested in helping them get their great content distributed globally.  great value to be created for the content producer and consumer.  

  102. LE

    “If I’m lucky they might throw a release party”A good documentary to watch on netflix is “Tales from The Script” relative to the perils of being this kind of creative professional.http://www.youtube.com/watc

  103. Rohan

    Wonder what the depression stage is going to look like..

  104. Donna Brewington White


  105. ArmandoKirwin

    I’m sorry, but there are so many things that are completely wrong with your reply, particularly from the perspective of the film industry, that I can’t help but give you a little bit of grief. First of all, the top-down mumbo jumbo… Have you heard of independent film? Sundance ring a bell? Do you know the story of Paranormal Activity? Created by one man (a software developer btw) and went on to generate hundreds of millions of dollars through a very successful franchise. I actually know about these things, I worked on Paranormal Activity 2 and 3. When you say things like “just go direct” and “screw retail,” you’re talking about skipping a $30 billion dollar source of revenue. Yes, theaters alone represent $30 BILLION dollars in revenue. Like most ignorant people, you assume that distribution is some kind of problem experienced by the film industry. Tell me, what it the problem with $30 billion dollars? FYI, DVD/VOD/Netflix/etc bring in another ~$60 billion. That’s almost a hundred billion dollars in revenue based on current methods of distribution. Hollywood does not have a distribution problem that needs to be fixed anytime soon. Bargain with that!You talk about music. Sure, maybe it’s worse there… I don’t know the facts. I’m not going to make sweeping statements about an industry I know nothing about. I do know this, we are not at the point yet where “creators” can make Ironman or Pirates of the Caribbean. I hope we get there some day. Moore’s Law coupled with VFX/CGI, augmented reality, display technologies, etc. might get us there, but it’s going to take a long time.In closing, I hate the MPAA/RIAA/SOPA/PIPA as much as you do. I called my representatives six times to protest, but this type of ignorant anti-Hollywood punditry is not going to help anyone. I’m sorry if this response is harsh, but if I came walking into your work and told you I was going to fix all of your “problems,” you’d be upset too.

  106. Jim

    Hey Grandpa,Everything you said is pretty much wrong.Major labels never controlled anything. Sorry, but it’s a myth. Any artist of the past could get amazing indie distribution and control everything.Everyone from Limewire went to iTunes. Are you kidding me?I suggest you stop reading internet blogs and work in the entertainment industry.

  107. gorbachev

    I vote for nobody for a Washington lobby job.The lobbyists IS the problem. Having more will not solve it.

  108. William Mougayar

    Always. All ways. Well said & played :)- posted via http://engag.io

  109. ShanaC

    How flat is the internet world?  Just because I can end up on any site doesn’t mean cultural constrictions would mean I do…and I think the content industry knows that.

  110. Rohan

    ‘Always. All ways.’Nice. As usual. 🙂

  111. JLM

    Textbooks are one of the last truly “rigged” markets left in the world.It is an unholy alliance among publishers, universities and college professors.If you saw Apple’s recent announcement about its new textbook publishing enterprise, you can feel the cracks forming in this multi-billion corrupt alliance which has been picking the pocket of students and their parents for decades.

  112. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    Charlie,You find out that the biggest chunk of the “IT” budget goes to cable and internet access for the schools.  Locally a small county school system found out the hard way when the county was planning on changing the provider for these services; the biggest issue with the change was that the school system would see their cable and internet access bill go from $45,000 a year (sweetheart deal) to $795,000 (an absurdity).

  113. William Mougayar

    True. That would be ideal. But the crowd sourced grass root noise we have made is like a form of remote lobbying without being in Washington. Public opinion can turn the tide. – posted via http://engag.io

  114. christopolis

    I thought we were talking about the music industry, or the film industry which magnifies my comments by many fold. I am guessing your preferences for music are not what makes the music industry, even a cursory glance at sales would show that is true. There are thousands and thousands of talented musicians and actors. Again many of them are interchangeable. It is the identification, speculation, development , creation of the brand, the distribution of the brand that make the vast majority of the film and music industry.There is a division of labor in music, technology and film for a reason. Implying otherwise is simply  naive. Your same specious argument could be applied to Fred and it would be wrong in that case as well. And besides it wasn’t just The back street boys. It was New Kids, New Edition, O-town and probably some I am unaware of.

  115. christopolis

    “This isn’t about piracy–that’s a red herring.  It’s about the direct model. They’ve been cut out of the relationship between the artist and the fan, and you know what? Good riddance. “While that sounds good, it makes no sense (specious). In other words ,they have been cut out of the equation and that is why they are wanting to crack down on piracy?” If they are cut out of the equation why would they care about piracy? It makes no sense.Not trying to be rude but when it comes to the industries concerns over piracy you are the .01% whereas the Back Street boys, Justin Timberlakes, etc are the 99% in revenue termsI do not think all artists are interchangeable but creating a product with mass appeal can be done with many different people. It is not sad that I think that really it is just my observations of what the facts are, I don’t control people’s preferences.

  116. LE

    “Textbooks are one of the last truly “rigged” markets left in the world.”Not to mention the fact that they are so heavy and quickly outdated in many study areas. They do provide a nice living for people that make those book bags of course.  You have to hand it to the publishers though for working that business the right way. Spread around the cheer, everything stays status quo because the people in control are happy. 

  117. jason wright

    I worked at an academic bookshop at the center of a university campus. The shop manager fancied himself as an entrepreneur. I couldn’t see it myself.  

  118. ShanaC

    The professors hate it.  They feel forced into upgrading textbooks unnecessarily….

  119. Rohan

    Apparently Jobs really wanted to fix it before his passing away.I wish he’d had a bit of time to attack it though. Would have made a huge difference!

  120. JamesHRH

    Hear this a lot.

  121. AlexSchleber

    Until the #dinomedia in all of its guises (newspapers, film, music) understand the new realities leading to this: http://alexschleber.amplify…there will be little common ground to argue on…

  122. Morgan Warstler

    The issue is that REAL “ownership” is rooted in the scarcity of the atomic.If we could copy oil and food, there would be riots in the streets if they were not free.We shouldn’t EVER let the content industry bastardize the property laws of atomic ownership by pretending their infinitely copyable stuff is the same thing.That’s right – my biggest concern is the impact of weakening personal property laws.  That’s not technologist issue, that’s a libertarian, anti-government one.——That said, I have advised both the RIAA and SAG on digital content issues, I was the one who first told them about actors getting screwed on “national” spots – see their last strike.The way forward is:1. Studios and labels owning a piece of the income streams of the talent they promote (already happening btw).2. Hollywood recognizing that 100% of the “gains” of digital flow to the consumer. The same movie with the same budget will earn the same ROI, it will just be seen by 5x more people… and the honest reality is that 4 out of 5 of those wouldn’t have paid to see it the old way.See this from FF Coppola:”This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?”http://the99percent.com/art…He notes he makes his money from WINE.

  123. jbcolme

    To me this is just unbelievable. They DESERVE to be disrupted.I mean, the technology is there already. Why don’t go with it? I would pay to be able to watch any movie I want if offered at the right price. Scarcity it’s such a bad business model!You have no idea how bad I’m wating for netflix or something similar in Italy.

  124. LE

    “It is the identification, speculation, development , creation of the brand, the distribution of the brand that make the vast majority of the film and music industry. “I agree with that. The packaging.  While there are for sure many who are simply so talented none of that matters, and can get discovered in the subway, those are outliers. With acting you see this if you watch any reality tv. People who aren’t professional actors that are very interesting to watch, very expressive, and could easily play character actor roles in major films.

  125. jason wright

    Could abandoned shopping malls be converted into TV and movie production studios?

  126. Chris Brand

    And yet relatively few actual artists stand up to contradict their claims of fighting for the artists when they push things like SOPA. And those that do tend to do so individually, on blogs, rather than en masse in the mainstream press or Washington.Without the moral justification of “for the artists!”, the MPAA and RIAA’s pleas to protect their income stream would be pretty well impossible for anyone to publicly support.

  127. ShanaC

    Its not art that makes money, its craft.You want a good xyz, you have to pay for it, otherwise your world will be filled with the content equivalent of spam.

  128. JLM

    You have struck the perfect note.As the Internet makes things cheaper both ends of the distribution chain want the benefit of eliminating the middle.The artist wants a bigger slice of the pie while the consumer wants a lower price.The middle man is screwed and the ends — artist and consumer — will fight for the savings made from eliminating the middlemen.Both are too greedy to split the difference.

  129. Scott Anderson

    MorganLibertarians are against copyright and patents because they limit competition and limit the free market.Metallica created music not to get rich but because that is what they loved doing. The market enjoyed their art and rewarded them financially.The “old boys network” of the creative industry has been passed by innovation and outsmarted by technology. Rather than innovate they push to create laws to maintain their monopoly.Technology has changed the way artists monetize their work. If the “old boys” still want a piece of the pie they will be forced to compete with apple, spotify, amazon, etc.

  130. Otto

    Or Tumblrs reblogging a dumb GIF 4000 times. But some people like that stuff too.

  131. Morgan Warstler

    Tell that to Skype.Shana we created gvt to establish and protect private property rights see magna carta.After that, it has to be great deal that gets cheape every year.

  132. ShanaC

    Oh, agreed, but that doesn’t mean it is valuable in the same sense- posted via http://engag.io

  133. ShanaC

    I could always throw Walter Benjamin at you and say only the original has value, and only because wealthy people attribute value to that craft. the rest has fake value associated to it by something like the statue of anne.- posted via http://engag.io

  134. Rohan

    AH. I see I need to improve my credibility rating with you, Charlie-ji… 🙂

  135. awaldstein

    Thanks Charlie. Slopes were poor until today with a huge snow dump. My bday present.

  136. direwolff

    for a good example of this, see Louis CK’s experiment, http://venturebeat.com/2011….

  137. Dale Allyn

    Very familiar, and happy about the success. 🙂

  138. Morgan Warstler

    I seem to end up at all the sites.

  139. PhilipSugar

    No…most like it.It is a way to increase your income.

  140. Donna Brewington White

    Good point.    The “old boys network” or whatever name you give the mechanism that controls distribution gained its power because it met a real need.   It was a valuable means to an end.Once again, a classic case of mistaken identity.  The means forgets that this is what it is, all that it is. 

  141. Donna Brewington White

    Is it that the artist and consumer want to get rid of the middle man or that it is becoming less necessary and relevant?I believe that we will gladly tolerate the middle man so long as it is providing benefit commensurate with cost.In many cases, it is just a matter of the middle man becoming obsolete, and even a hindrance.

  142. William Mougayar

    Cutting intermediaries and re-configuring chains was the promise of the Internet since 1995. Why it didn’t happen for certain industries as much as others was probably a matter of time. For eg, I still don’t understand why we can’t buy a car totally online without going through the vulgarities of interacting with a car dealership. – posted via http://engag.io

  143. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    That is was prompted the conversation!From the conversation the professors acknowledged that they use about $15.00 of the total of $120.00 that their class textbooks cost and that they could very easily legally replicate the texts and consolidate them into one book that would cost $15.00 bu that still leaves them with two problems:1. How many students have IPads?2. Then the issue that most students have $300 in their financial aid accounts for books at the beginning of every semester and the only way to utilize these funds is via the university book store.Thus they are looking for an option that allows for downloading onto an IPAD or computer but they also have to have a way to print about 500 books to stock in the university bookstore.

  144. Robert Thuston

    So appreciate dissent.  As well as Charlie’s response to it.  Helps me more fully understand the issue.

  145. Volker Hirsch

    You’re mixing up production with distribution. if the high-end production model continues to work in order to produce the Avatars of this world, it will.What is unlikely to work in the same ways it used to is the distribution model. And that isn’t to say that the box office is going away: make the experience of “going to the movies” better than any other possible experience and the perceived value to the consumer will be greater than the price charged. Works.However, Digital distribution now already equals physical (box office + DVD) and that shows the challenge the industry faces. And it is a challenge because the film industry has not come up with any of those models that now provide more than half of their revenue but were forced into it (the studios fought a lot before agreeing to do VoD, etc.). This comes from thinking backwards: we always had that formula to produce a movie and we make billions, so we don’t have a problem, we “just” need to enforce it. When perceived value (from a consumer’s point of view) is decoupled from the price charged (“that’s how we always did it”) you are nearing disruptive change (you may want to read Clayton Christenson’s old classic on this). I believe that this is where Fred and Charlie suggested a change in thinking and behaviour.The case in the music industry has shown that mass law suits against individual breaches are a Don Quixotian endeavour; it doesn’t work.I believe no one here wishes for IP to go away or for great big movies to go away or the ability to make money with content to go away but the industry does have to start thinking forward and engage with the stakeholders in the process, and that includes the tech industry. It is very simple really…

  146. gubatron

    Moore’s law will get you there faster than you think, it gets there twice as fast as you thought it would two years ago, twice as fast.The tech to support content creators is moore based, big media on the other hand is lawyer based, good luck in trying to catch up using folks that make a living out of being as slow as possible at what they do.I think you can do without those channels for film distribution, most of you wont land a paranormal activity hit, but are more likely to build an audience of 3 million viewers a week on youtube with professionally produced content every week, distributed freely, making money on youtube ads and landing plenty of sponsors to create new content that has something to do with their brand or product. See freddiew on youtube for a look of what the next action film director/producer generation isall about, building a world wide audience based on abundance, free, ad sponsored content thatis begging for their first full feature.On the music industry the same thing is happening, a band makes a clever video covering another somewhat famous song, gets 30 million views in one week, sells the song at a fan set price on bandcamp, cdbaby or itunes, the somewhat famous artist gets discovered by 30 million new people world wide, all of a sudden his digital sales are up. Turns out sharing and remixing works out a lot better than the pimp from the label.

  147. fredwilson

    i will compile a list. quite a few

  148. ArmandoKirwin

    Thank you for being polite in the face of my ranting. I appreciate that. I agree that there is a “threat” in going direct to the consumer, but it’s just not as simple as you might think. First, although you might not be one of them, a lot of people actually still prefer the theatrical experience, like I said $30 billion.Second, Hollywood has adopted very well to many of the platform/distribution model changes over the last fifty years. As I mentioned, twice as much annual revenue now comes from non-theatrical sources, i.e. what were once new platforms. As we know, incumbents almost always win when it comes to sustaining technological innovations, the tech industry would do well to recognize this fact in their haste to disrupt us. Third, theaters are not owned by the studio system (this part of the monopoly was broken up by the government back in the day). A lot of tech pundits don’t seem to recognize that fact. In summary, the multiplex is facing a classic innovator’s dilemma, there are definitely was for tech people to play in this specific portion of the value chain, but the content producers will require a completely different kind of disruption. To use your example, Blockbuster and Borders were disrupted, but books were not. Thank you again for your comments. I appreciate the lively debate.

  149. gubatron

    Charlie Crystle, you are my new commenting hero (awesome comeback to a response full of ego and unasuming of the capabilities and experience of the adversary)If you are still producing documentary content or you are willing to share some of it under Creative Commons before a world wide audience of hundreds of thousands we should talk.

  150. lostwars

    I totally agree with you Charlie. Even if we are naive about the current status of how the industry relies on certain distro methods, the one point here is clear: as long as the internet remains open for everyone, the more likely we will move away from the conglomerate manufacturing of our entertainment and put the power in the masses hands. 

  151. ArmandoKirwin

    Upon viewing my post the following day, I realized that I crossed the line into jerk territory pretty solidly. Thanks for putting up with it.

  152. ArmandoKirwin

    Thank you for replying to my rant. I’m attempting to tone down my anger and engage in a thoughtful debate with anyone who’s interested in participating. My response:If you really look at the evolution of the music industry, you can plainly see that scarcity is still the main way that musicians make money. The music is now free, so the concerts become the logical revenue source (concerts being a scarcity-based model for obvious reasons).Regarding some of your other points… Do you really want to watch Avatar 2 on youtube? Do you really want product placement to be saturated into all of the media that you consume? I encourage you to think about these questions from a user experience perspective. You’ll find that paying for content in order to enjoy a premium experience is still something valuable to certain people.Thanks!

  153. Gubatron

    “Do you really want to watch Avatar 2 on youtube?”If you have a nice projector (see EPSON’s for just $1,000 that can get you awesome 1080p at over 120″) or a 60” plus TV screen along with a nice home theater sound, hell yes, screw going to the movies.As for product placement, If you pay attention, it’s all over the place already, specially in big block buster movies. Did you watch the latest Mission Impossible? It’s a long BMW/Apple beautiful 90 minute ad. I enjoyed watching that ad.Thinking from a user experience perspective It’s all how you present the products or how you build content around those products that make that difference. Freddiew has produced so many shorts around the game “Battlefield” and many others and his audience LOVES it.Here’s an example of something they did for the “Cowboys & Aliens” franchise http://www.youtube.com/watc… -> 6 million views! (say he has a CPM of just $30 x 6,000 = that’s $180k on just that one, and I’ve seen video cost per thousands of $50, that’ll easily float them to produce more next week). That’s a win for both him and the advertiser.

  154. Gubatron

    Oh, and I do agree with you that paying for content is still very valuable, but more and more, free is becoming a great option for everybody in the equation.And btw, I’m actually an addict of VoD on YouTube and Amazon Video on Demand. You’ll always see me on friday’s checking what’s new, I find it so convenient, and being able to watch a few new movies every weekend with my family in the living room out of youtube, paying for them, in HD, seems to me like an awesome and affordable option when we don’t want to go and spend $50+ on movie tickets, parking, time and risk of moving our asses out of the house.

  155. Chris Brand

    But look at what “Hollywood”‘s being doing lately – Fox has been demanding that wholesalers not sell to Redbox, Warner forcing Netflix and Redbox to wait 28 days after the DVD release before allowing people to rent movies (followed by offering VoD for $30 a movie, and then by bumping that to $60), Starz pulling its content from Netflix, trying to launch their own (separate) online rental stores rather than doing deals with the places where people go for movies online, plus of course the unskippable ads on DVDs, and the various DRM schemes that frustrate people who buy content and want to watch it in some way that the studios didn’t think of.In summary – do everythign they can to make their product more expensive, less available and less attractive. And then they’re surprised when people turn to pirated versions ?The first thing they need to learn is that they have no choice but to compete with pirated copies. Then maybe they’ll start figuring out how to *add*, rather than *remove* value…

  156. ArmandoKirwin

    I feel your pain, but again, if you look at where the money is coming from right now, you’ll see that Hollywood has its reasons for being hesitant. (Not to mention the classic innovator’s dilemma that they face.)And remember, Hollywood does not own all of these distribution channels. For example, the studios have tried to experiment with day-and-date VOD before, but the theater chains threatened to boycott.My advice, get out there and disrupt the distribution channel that you are most unhappy with!

  157. ShanaC

    Doubt it. Unless you actively look for sites in Urdu or something.- posted via http://engag.io

  158. ShanaC

    I remember professors giving me advice on how to NOT buy textbooks. I think they’re now seeing student pain.- posted via http://engag.io