They just don’t understand it – a take down notice is not a cure
May 29, 2009 | 10:13 pm
By Paul Biba
At BookExpo I attended a workshop on copyright enforcement. It was a joint presentation by the Association of American Publishers and the U.K. Publishers Association. They presented a whole bunch of info on how much infringement there was, how many evil sites there are and gave some plain misinformation about the Pirate Bay case. I was going to write it up and give you the details, but something about it kept nagging at me and I realized, today, what a sorry thing it was.
The thrust of the presentations was how good they were in issuing, and getting compliance with, take down notices. The U.K. Publishers Association is developing a portal, which members pay for, to make issuing these notices easier. It seems like a good idea, actually. But they miss the point completely.
What all of this does is simply try to overlay the already failed model into the future and convince people (paying members, of course) that by doing this thrashing around they are actually accomplishing something. It is so sad that the industry doesn’t recognize this for the failure it really is.
When you are faced with an overwhelming paradigm change the proper thing to do is to adapt to it and try to find new ways to deal with it. I had hoped that these groups would have come up with some creative solutions. But no go. Just keep plodding on with the old failed model.
I’ll give you a good example of what could be done. Instead of spending lots of money hiring a major international law firm to prosecute take down notices (which they did), why not spend the same amount of money with a high powered software house to help develop filters that companies like Scirbd or Wattpad could use to screen out copyrighted material. No, they won’t do that. They talked about the stuff that those sites have done so far – talked about it with some disdain by the way – but took that attitude that it was those sites’ complete responsibility, rather than it being a shared effort. Why this old school attitude?
For three reasons. First, because it might put them out of business if a new model worked. Second, to justify membership fees they need numbers. They can point to the hard numbers of the take down notices they issue and this can be used to drive membership. (Hey, I was counsel to a trade association once and I’m familiar with this game.) But they can’t get any hard numbers out of a software program. But the real reason is next.
Three, that organizations like this are still mired in the old paradigm and can’t see that the world is changing around them. They keep fighting the old fight, but don’t realize that they don’t even know who the enemy is any more.