Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Loathing, and Copyright

Tyler Cowen says that he is “pro-copyright… but… the default settings make it too hard for successful negotiations to occur…”I wonder: doesn’t that also mean that he is “anti-copyright, but the default settings don’t provide enough rewards to creative authorship…”?How would one tell the difference between the qualified pro-copyright and the qualified anti-copyright positions?>Marginal Revolution: Kindle and DRM and Netflix too: As a reader, I find it good policy to keep the number of books on my Kindle to below twenty.  That forces me to read the ones I order and it also protects me from “stranded” consumer durables.  Uncertainty and confusion about my rights only strengthens my desire to keep that policy. >As a writer, I expect the Kindle is temporarily in my financial self-interest, as it gets more “influentials” reading my work and perhaps talking it up.  In the longer run I suspect it means a lower equilibrium price for books.  One question is whether publishers use “sticky” or inconvenient DRM practices as an implicit collusive method for limiting the spread of Kindle.>Today I was struck by this passage about the origins of Netflix:>>Netflix’s selection of more than 100,000 DVD rental titles is made possible by the “first-sale doctrine” of U.S. copyright law, which permits buyers of DVDs to lend them out without studios’ consent.>>In Netflix’s early days, its buying team would sometimes purchase DVDs at local Wal-Marts or Best Buys if it couldn’t get copies through studios, says Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer.>>In contrast, to deliver movies and television shows over the Internet, Netflix has to license them from studios. So far, it has gotten only about 12,000 titles, a hodgepodge of older films such as “Diehard,” episodes of popular TV shows including “30 Rock” and a smattering of new releases.>That’s right, we had more innovation because some of the usual copyright strictures about negotiating rights did not apply.  I am pro-copyright, but once again the default settings make it too hard for successful negotiations to occur.Me? I’m putting my trust in Google as semi-benevolent *kami*. Google Books is rolling forward. Google Movies and Google Music are YouTube in disguise. When the titanic battle between them and iTunes takes place, it will shake the universe.

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