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Monday, August 22, 2005

The Internet Ecosystem : Innovate, Create & Compensate!

The Internet is a place of innovation, creation, and communication & any regulatory mechanism need to be centered around the principle - “don't constrain the technology; constrain bad actors”, writes Greg & Susan. In an excellent article starting from first principles , they argue about the care and subtlety needed in regulating the internet environment. Excerpts with edits & comments added:

The Internet has become a forum for borrowing, mixing, developing, and tinkering. In the softer sciences like science and art - innovators build on each other's work. Innovation has flourished, countries have reaped the rewards, because Internet technologies enable the rapid, widespread, and often anonymous flow of information. With free flow with advances in digital media - photography, video, music - and there lay an amazing opportunity for wide-scale experimentation and creative expression. Two decades ago, home computers brought us a revolution called desktop publishing. Now home users have the tools to create professional-quality movies and music - and a way to share them with others. Public policy should encourage innovation and free-speech, balancing the rights of individuals with the greatest public good. DRM, needs to respect experimental, standing-on-the-shoulders-of-giants aspects of the Internet. DRM technology should be designed to respect legitimate needs and current rights of honest users (including backups, format changes, excerpting, and so on). The following principles of digital rights management need to be considered by all:
- Innovation flourishes through openness - open standards, reference architectures, and implementations.
- All creators are users and many users are creators.
- Content creators and holders of copyright should be compensated fairly.
- Respect for users' privacy is essential.
- Code (both laws and technology) should encourage innovation.
An "optimistic" model whose fundamental credo is "trust the customer" is the need of the hour. Excessive limitation not only restricts consumer rights but also potential, as such solutions strongly interfere with the creation of future works and fair use of copyrighted content. In an ideal world, solutions should encourage information flow, including the capability for creating future works. Systems that encourage the user to play with digital material, to experiment, to build and create, will be a win for consumers, for technology developers, and for content producers. Technologists, artists, developers, users, and rightsholders need to move ahead in a balanced and forward-looking manner. If done properly, it will be a win for the Internet and for society.An excellent article worth reading several times and ponder over.

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