Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Babies, Bathwater and Big Entertainment

Mark Cuban has some thoughts about the MGM vs. Grogster case before the Supreme Court and looks at the whole P2P issue here and here.

The case is about whether Peer to Peer software that enables the P2P networks most of us read about and few of us use, should be illegal or not. The big entertainment companies are pushing the argument that because some of their content gets stolen through the use of this software, that all uses of the software should be illegal.

The are NOT arguing that there aren’t legitimate reasons to use the software. They acknowledge that businesses and individuals are using the software for purposes other than those that impact their music or movie businesses. They just feel that because it impacts their business (they still don’t know if its a postiive or negative impact), in a way they can’t control, it’s better to make it illegal rather than adapt to the new technology.
This over-reaching by the entertainment industry which I've touched on before is really frightening. As Mark outlines, there are many more uses for the emerging technologies than just distributing the latest Pauly Shore epic. For example:
The ability for emergency relief workers to distribute videos of instructions on how to deal with a situation will be an invaluable application. In a car wreck and need instructions on how to apply a bandage or worse? Over the next 10 years 911 will be able to distribute a video with instructions to you and those around you and talk you through it. P2P is the most bandwidth effective distribution solution.

Technology advances are challenging the entertainment industry's old economic model, but rather than seeking innovative ways to deal with it, they just seeking protection.

Mark asks:
Do we want to kill off applications that could change our lives for the better to give the music and movie industries control over the technology?


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