The innovation wars the Internet has sparked are flowing through all sorts of industries. Music and movies felt the brunt ten or fifteen years ago. Nowadays in those industries the platforms are largely global.
I am not a seer or a fortune-teller, but I assume the same forces are pushing TV in the same direction. You can see this when broadcasters offer episodes of shows the “same day” they are broadcast in the USA.
But the lure of global brands with walls of content is likely to remain strong if not grow stronger – and as these brands move more and more into the content origination business, one can imagine them growing even more influential.
This of course gives rise to what would be the killer app of the current situation: a way for a user to set up a selection of content they wanted, and that app going and paying the relevant subscription fees to the relevant services to get access to it. If anyone can make this happen, I’ll be signing up in a heartbeat.
I admire and appreciate the efforts and investments of the big four companies who have made these legal threats.
I also admire efforts of technologists to do their best to offer Internet services where people can access as much content as possible (while paying for it, which fortunately is the case – this isn’t an issue of illegal downloading).
Mostly, given my job, I admire and appreciate the open Internet that allows all this creative havoc to fly. Not everyone is a winner in the days of change the Internet has unleashed. Nor were they in previous eras of innovation: the mass production of horseshoes faded as the mass production of tyres took over.
The questions remain… and we’ll be part of the debate as it plays out. Whatever happens, if this matter goes to court, the Internet itself isn’t at risk.
The ease of consumer access to what content they want might be. There might be implications for the upcoming review of the Copyright Act. There will certainly be conversations to have.
I don’t have answers to all the questions I posed up above, but I do have InternetNZ’s position. We’re here to promote the potential of the Internet.
And the potential of the Internet lies in its lack of boundaries. Content is catching up with that reality. People can choose to be on the right side of history or not – in the end, those choices sit with them.
Someone else once said it better than I could, and I paraphrase:
“We welcome change and openness. There is one sign that the four legal actors can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of an open and uncaptureable Internet.
“John Fellet, Simon Moutter, Kevin Kenrick and Mark Weldon: if you seek innovation, if you seek advancement and benefits for the Kiwi consumers, if you seek to be on the right side of history then stop this silliness. Content deliverers, tear down this wall!”