Adam Reuters interviewed Edgar Bronfman (updated)

1 12 2006

It was taking place on the Reuters sim and was actually a bit short (15 minutes or so). The topics dicussed have been YouTube, File Sharing, DRM and so on.

Of course not much new was told in that interview but here are quickly some bullet points (if I did not get something right please correct me):

  • there was a question about mashups and he replied that they are looking to enabling that more but with a license attached
  • Adam asked him if his kids have ever used a file sharing service. He said yes and he discussed it with them as wrong is wrong and right is right and they need to understand that.
  • Asked about DRM in relationship to the Zune and the recent decision by Microsoft not to support their old DRM standard anymore he replied that DRM is an important thing to fight theft but then again walled gardens is probably not what customers want. As DRM is important he’d like to see more standards in that area so that devices are more interoperable.
  • Prokofy asked about CopyBot and what he thinks of it. His reply was that it’s of course intellectual property which might get stolen with it but one also needs to find a good balance in how big the restrictions are.
  • He also said that they will open up their music video library more in the future when asked about their YouTube deal

So all in all nothing new. And unfortunately it does not sound really like they are going to open up much. The fact that he thinks DRM is important is very much in the way of any openess. In fact it only does make the use of music harder for honest customers, not for people downloading from filesharing sites. It is also in the way of doing mashups. But then again you’d need a license to do a mashup anyway and this means lots of legal work. I guess Creative Commons won’t be an option here.

Anyway, I just don’t buy DRMed music esp. not with the situation of those walled gardens. There are enough music options out there, be it in podcasts, CC licensed music and so on. They should just trust their customers more and try to find better business models which work in the 21st century.

Warner Brothers CEO Edgar Bronfman interviewed by Adam Reuters Warner Brothers CEO Edgar Bronfman interviewed by Adam Reuters Warner Brothers CEO Edgar Bronfman interviewed by Adam Reuters

The transcript can now be found here.

UPDATE: I forgot to add one link which is in this context and was quoted during the discussion after the event. So read here about the RIAA.

UPDATE II: Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing blogs about that interview here.

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6 responses

1 12 2006
Prokofy Neva

Tao, I don’t recall him saying any namby-pamby stuff like this: “ne also needs to find a good balance in how big the restrictions are.” That sounds like your spin on it. I await the actual verified transcript with eagerness. Of course, he doesn’t understand the full evil of CopyBot, not being in SL — you’ve spun this story so hard your knuckles must hurt.

BTW, the chief newsworthy thing he said was that he has no plans to buy out LL or SL.

1 12 2006

I think he understands it pretty well. It’s not really hard to understand actually esp. if you are coming from the music industry.

1 12 2006
Jesse Hirsh » Second Life, Reuters, and Edgar Bronfman Jr.

[…] One of the people I met at the event, Tao Takashi, also wrote about the event, and took some photos including this one of Edgar Bronfman Jr.: […]

1 12 2006

Ok, the transcript says basically what I said in that point but it does not say that he denied to buy Linden Lab.

But on one point I was a little too harsh, that about mash-ups. He say “It’s our hope we can find a way to generally license much or all of our content for users to adapt in any way they see fit. We want people to use their creativity to take our content and do what they think is an interesting thing.”

So it’s my hope then that this license does not involve money or much legal difficulty. We will see. For now there is Creative Commons 🙂

2 12 2006
Prokofy Neva

Tao, I said he “had no plans to buy SL”. And what he answered was this:

“AP: Part B to that question from Prokofy, and I should say you are also part of a venture capital fund, is whether you would ever consider buying Linden Lab.

EB: I don’t know that we would or wouldn’t, but what I can say is I really admire Second Life, it’s building something really extraordinary and terrific. I wish Phil Rosedale and the entire team really great things. I think it’s great to see people take the potential of new technologies and create a community that will be a great benefit to its users whoever owns it, and wherever it goes.”

That tells me that he is dismissing it, he says “I don’t know” and then goes on to say “whether we would or wouldn’t” meaning he likely honestly never considered it. Or not really realistically.

As for the other point, no, you went overboard on that, too, contorting it to what you believe on the copyleft side of the equation. Here’s what he said:

“EB: I think there needs to be flexibility on the part of content owners, and respect for the communities that are developing. We also feel that there needs to be some recognition that intellectual property is real property. We need a find a middle ground that allows both communities, the owners and the users, to be happy.”

Then, here’s the important context he put it in, not “seeking a middle ground that enables Tao’s leftist philosophy to be realized” but *licensing* which means *for money*:

“EB: It’s our hope we can find a way to generally license much or all of our content for users to adapt in any way they see fit. We want people to use their creativity to take our content and do what they think is an interesting thing.”

As for prosecution, another important context, he says this:

“The approach isn’t different, but the effect is. There are now many more carrots than sticks. We’ve got all kinds of carrots. Running a red light is wrong, stealing a CD out of the store is wrong, stealing music is wrong, and that’s not going to change. What we’ve tried to do is make a distinction, not go after the casual jaywalker, but the car thief.”

I challenge you, as I challenge others, to point to some authentic major works of world renown on Creative Commons, and also to point to the sources of their makers’ income to sustain their work, and also point to critical reviews — I’m serious, I just never see the *measurable results* of all this Creative Commons ranting.

Example: when Hamlet Au wanted to publish a book about Second Life, did he license it with Creative Commons, and create Free Culture with it, the stuff he’s always raving about? No, he signed a contract and *sold the rights to publish* to a mainstream, ordinary old-world book publishing company, HarperCollin, which pays him *royalties*.

3 12 2006

I just want the freedom to attach the license of my choice to my creations. And I would like to be able to do mashups/remixes with more stuff out there. And for this CC licenses are a good choice. I am ok with everybody to release their work under a All Rights Reserved license but then again I’d like to get this stuff at least without DRM.

As for the income question it’s maybe too early too judge but I can at least say that it works for me in terms of open source. The thing here is mainly that you sell your services and not a product as the latter is free. And even with propietary software the client usually has to pay for consulting etc. So the advantage in open source is that he does not have to pay the license fee for the product and thus can use this money more to adjust the product or even buy new developments (which eventually go back to the open source pool of extensions so that everybody profits from that).

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