Many of you may have missed a small but significant legalruling a few days ago. Basically it said that companies could not store TV media content on behalf of customers. The concept, generally called a network PVR, is simple. You do essentially what a TIVO does but you do it from a central location and deliver the video to the user (and only that user) on demand over the network.
Basically, it would be a simple way for consumers to get a great service (that is already considered legal) for a lot less hassle and potentially save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s the problem though – the technology is too good – too many people would likely use it. It would disrupt the current mode of Information delivery from mostly “real time delivery” to “on demand delivery.”
The fact is though, the disruption has already happened (remember Rule 7 of Information 2.0 in my last post?). Sure folks can use legal maneuvers to try to slow things down but it is just going to prolong the agony…
On top of all that, the decision itself makes no sense.
Think about this for a moment, the ruling basically says, what? Is it now true that I must store all of my copyrighted material in my home? What if I get one of those rental garages and put my DVDs in it? Am I breaking the law?
Hey wait a minute, what about other brokers that hold things for me like, say, banks. In fact, banks don’t even keep all of my money; they give some of it out to others. I am essentially paying a bank to hold my property – do we have to start putting my money in a mattress to avoid breaking the law?
Now, to be fair to the networks, if I create some content, I should be able to be paid for it and those whose store it should be able to be held liable if it is stolen. But, we need to all work with technology to exploit it vs. trying to constrain it.
Some one once told me that there are three stages to every company. In the first stage (growth), companies are lead by the technologists, creative folks, and entrepreneurs. In the second stage (maintenance), they are led by finance. In the third phase (I know you know what this phase is), companies are led by legal.
In my humble opinion, those companies in the media industry that we will see the high growth are the ones hiring the visionaries and technologists and leveraging technology to improve their “product.” Let’s save the court battles for protecting all of the new innovations and patents.