I cannot understand why there should be an apparent gap in the debate between the rising concern over Copy Right on file sharing sites and the work that has been done on Digital Rights over the last few years. To quote from a recent newspaper article; ‘YouTube can identify spam, porn, and hate speech, but not copyrighted material. Come on!’ The point is obvious with two threads to the discussion; the motivation; and the technology; however it does leave some further questions on definitions in a digital society unaddressed. The assumption is that we can use technology to manage the current status of copyright law built around definitions formed with no concept of the digital content that is increasingly at the centre of our society.

The topic being aired in the popular press, and increasingly in the courts, is the motivation, so plenty of other places to read about that. However, I am not sure that the topic is really hitting the issues that a Web 2.0 environment has created, and will carry on creating, which will also lead to what might happen with the exploitation of loosely coupled services ripped from SOA processes.
This whole point came home very clearly when a post to one of my recent blogs on MashUps pointed out that you could create a new site, and a new business, by mashing together other sites content, and he wasn’t sure that there was anything to prevent this being done in the law right now. In short what we thought of as Copy Right works for a document as an unaltered image, but gets a bit hazy when we merge elements together and create something new from the pieces. But is this necessary true? The best case study to try to figure out the issues is the music industry.
So back to the future with the emergence of MashUps as a music form in the hands of the technology competent together with the concerns as to the legality; and forward to today at http://www.splicemusic.com/ where we can get help to ‘splice’ together our own music. Okay so the music industry is on the way to resolving this area after many court cases, and a whole lot of money, but actually it’s still sticking plaster on the old model, with its definitions of copyright as applied in the music industry. Actually no, it may yet not turn out to be a long term workable solution. The trigger for this Blog is to found in full at http://www.alternet.org/columnists/story/19164/ which is reporting a deliberate attempt by those who see themselves as creators of a new generation of music by creating ‘unique’ MashUps to break the law in such a way it will create a total reformation, or as they say ‘we aim to MashUp the law’. So the sticking plaster may yet fall off!
Keep in mind this background from the music industries encounter with the impact of the digital society, and start thinking about what happens within a fully digital business trading environment based on loosely coupled granular services. Makes me think very carefully about the potential exposure to some of these issues, and gives me a big urge to return to looking at the work done on digital rights by the industry to date. Try http://www.digitalrights.dk/ as a starting point for a more thoughtful approach about understanding this better.