Tag Archives: mpaa

The sky is not falling on Content Industries. And on French button manufacters neither.

Techdirt reports about the paper “Is the Sky Falling on the Content Industries?” by Mark A. Lemley of Stanford Law School.
Mark makes many example of a recurrent pattern:
1. New technology
2. Legacy settled industry freaks out saying the world is ending
3. Industry flocks to DC & the courts to demand fixing
4. Turns out that the new technology actually increases the market

The examples are:
* photographs (would destroy painting),
* musical recordings (would destroy live music),
* radio (would destroy recorded music)
* cable TV (would destroy regular TV),
* photocopier (would destroy books),
* VCR (would destroy the movie industry),
* audio cassettes (would destroy music)
* MP3 player (would destroy music),
* file sharing (would destroy music),
* DVR (would destroy TV)

There is even a

Pornographers complain of a once-lucrative market flooded by amateur pornography (see Copyright Infringements in the Porn Industry); even sex, it seems, fears it can’t compete with free. But I wouldn’t list “lack of sufficient pornography” as among our larger societal problems.

All this reminded of an old post at techdirt History Repeats Itself: How The RIAA Is Like 17th Century French Button-Makers. In short, 17th century tailors in France were beginning to make buttons out of cloth (new technology), and button makers (settled industry) start complaining. The last piece, from the book “The Worldly Philosophers” of Robert L. Heilbroner is even more astonishing

The government, indignant that an innovation should threaten a settled industry, imposes a fine on the cloth-button makers. But the wardens of the button guild are not yet satisfied. They demand the right to search people’s homes and wardrobes and fine and even arrest them on the streets if they are seen wearing these subversive goods.

In this January 2007 (!) post, Techdirt concludes, and I totally second:

Centuries from now (hopefully much, much sooner), the actions of the RIAA, MPAA and others that match those of the weavers and button-makers of 17th century France will seem just as ridiculous.