Okay, this has nothing to do with energy efficiency, IT, or data centers, except in the most peripheral way, but given the debate this week regarding SOPA and the government's efforts to address appropriate and fair use of copyrighted material, I thought it worth a review.
Free Ride is a great read! Mr. Levine describes the fundamental battle between the high tech and communications industries on one hand and media companies and copyright holders on the other.
With chapters covering the music industry, newspapers, movies, and books, we get a clear picture that the current model will not hold: while content delivery companies certainly drive innovation and provide a valuable channel, media companies, artists, and other producers of content will certainly fail in the long term if a means of providing them reasonable earnings for their efforts aren't established.
And while the content delivery companies were able to mount a surprising "grass roots" puch this week to counterbalance whatever sway traditional media companies have over the legislative process, I can't say I'm at all confident that a reasonable solution can be found - at least in the legislative arena. (Lawyers, however, will be well-employed.)
Have we already passed the point of no return? Have we conditioned ourselves to view content as free and copyright as something to be ignored?
The US entertainment industry is our leading exporter. If we don't respect the fair use of content here, how can we ask foreign nations to do the same? And how can we preserve a free press if it isn't financially sustainable? These are crucial issues for us as a nation and society, in my view.
As the subtitle suggests, Free Ride includes suggestions for how we might establish a fair use system that keeps content generation alive, and I hope it can form the basis for a meaningful accomodation between industries that show no sign of mutual cooperation.