Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Statement of Purpose

Or, in other words, "Why are we here?"

We have the solution to an extremely vexing problem. In this blog, we would like to begin chronicling our daily efforts to bring the solution to light.

What is the solution?

It's called the Digital Content Exchange. A working prototype is over at Thedce.com. (You can even help us beta test. )

What is the problem?

Piracy, as it is commonly called. Music piracy, from my perspective, is not really too close to the image of men with eye patches, red bandannas and knives clenched between their teeth. It is better-described as the inability of artists to be able to control the use of their creations in digital space. But however you look at it, it is a huge problem, especially in music (and more and more in books and movies.) And, yes, the people who take music without having paid for it are breaking the law.

Our invention creates an unprecedented inducement to users to stop breaking the law (velvet glove) and makes it harder for them to do so (iron glove).

The key thing to recognize is that piracy it is not a legal problem it is a technological problem. The technological solution has not been tried. Or, rather, it has been tried, it works(!), but it is just awaiting the participation of
the content-owners. Or Google. Or Apple. (We're not picky). Can we do it without the content-owners, Google or Apple? Yes, we can. It will just be a lot slower.

So, what I would like to do here is chronicle our daily efforts to bring the Content Exchange up to scale. And to comment on the passing parade of wrong-headed measures. This will include naming names of whom we talked to about the DCE and what they said (or if they didn’t call us back!) If they had objections to the DCE, we will discuss those objections. (We love criticism!).

And if we are in the middle of actively talking to someone who is thinking about partnering with us, we will let you know about it here. Why not? Someday, just about everyone will have an Exchange account, just as if someone might have predicted in 1991 that someday everyone would have an email address. Each record label, book publisher, or video producer will have their own account (or "seat" at the exchange). So just because we might be talking to one content-creator this week, it does not mean that we will discriminate against their competitors. It's just that that content-creator, if it joins us, can start making money for itself sooner.

Now, for some links about the Digital Content Exchange to help get you acquainted. Feel free to jump in at the deep end or the shallow end.

Here is a Scribd White Paper we wrote and circulated in May, Toward a Digital Content Exchange for Copyrighted Works.

Feel free to “have at” the website. Note that the website is a completely functional demo of our invention for music (n.b. not books or videos yet). But it is not meant to be the ideal iteration. A significant upgrade will be along soon. (It is worth underscoring that although we want the book, video and music industries to cooperate with us, their contribution is not necessary. Although once we are up and running there is no Earthly reason they would not want to participate. But you, the User, can start now and get your music where you want it and how you want it.)

If you want the quickie "look and feel" and user experience, the following two youtube videos, both 6:10 in length, were produced late summer:

How to Create Your Own Streaming Music Library with the DCE

How To Add Your Vinyl Records, CDs and iTunes Purchases To Your DCE Library

If you are interested in hearing our solution to the Google Book Case and/or want an analysis of the legal underpinnings of the DCE, take a look at our Amicus Curiae brief here:

Our next white paper is in development and will approach the Content Exchange from the point of view of a registry rather than as a digital media application: How To Institute a System of Voluntary Registration of Music, Video and Book Ownership That Will Stem Piracy.

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