On this week’s Lift Studios Broadcast, Todd Sieling (as seen previously in LSB006) stops by once again to discuss user-generated content and the glut of problems big media is having in terms of online distribution, file sharing and how exactly they’re losing the war on copyright along with the respect of their audience.
Central to the conversation is the on-going corporatization of media and how the corporate powers have flubbed the single biggest opportunity they’ve ever been given: the Internet. Todd explains how Big Media’s desire for a “Pleasantville model” of copyright, where dough-eyed and naive citizens happily follow the rules and nod to the cues of expected behaviour without ever questioning why, has turned the corporate media industries into vast institutions largely devoid of ideas and innovation. In short time, the conversation hops from the establishment of blogging platforms (such as LiveJournal and Blogger) as innovators in user-generated content to a frank discussion on why rigid copyright terms and treating your audience as criminals is marketing (and coprporate) suicide. To fill in the gaps, discussion of Facebook‘s constant (and possibly criminal) mishandling of their user’s content, why Michael Geist is a national icon, South Park‘s cheeky and clever insistence of function before form, the Dadaist nature of the contemporary music industry, Girl Talk, how the legacy of The Beatles’ music is now in the hands of Rock Banders and mash-up artists, and why Radiohead‘s re-invention of music distribution turned bold experimentation into sleazy marketing.
Not solely to harp on the pitfalls of the RIAA, Facebook, et al, Todd offers solutions to some of these problems: copyright control at the hardware level of camera equipment, allowing user communities to subtly dictate the laws of the land, understand the mediums in which your product thrives, and ditching 5-figure per song lawsuits for customers who simply want to enjoy their favourite music. With British governments looking to cut-off illegal downloaders from the web for good (and legendary musicians such as Paul McCartney, Elton John and Damon Albarn appropriately calling shenanigans), it seems this dilemma is far from over.