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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Developing the Digital Marketplace for Copyrighted Works

I recently spoke at "Developing the Digital Marketplace for Copyrighted Works", organized by the Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Taskforce. The goal of the public meeting was to "facilitate constructive, cross-industry dialogue among stakeholders about ways to promote a more robust and collaborative digital marketplace for copyrighted works". My impression of the roughly 80 attendees was of a mix of publishers and lawyers - who tended to be pretty conservatively dressed - and music people - who tended to be in more sparkly outfits. Most of the discussion revolved around music, photo and video, but it turned out that a lot of the problems and potential solutions were quite similar across industries and media types. I've linked to the video of the event at the end of this post.

I've been involved in rights work at the Associated Press, including adding rights and pricing metadata to AP's Image API. I lead the IPTC's Rights Working Group. And I'm working within the W3C's POE group to turn ODRL into an official standard.


I spoke on the first panel with the topic of "Unique Identifiers and Metadata". I was teased a bit about "fake news" (this was in Alexandria. VA on December 9th 2016, so close both in time and place to the U.S. Presidential Election). Amongst other things, I spoke about how apparently simple things - "let's agree on identifiers for photos" - turned out to be quite complicated - since a text item, a photo or a video is not really a single, simple atomic thing, but more like a molecule of information. (You can watch the entire panel - which turned out to be quite lively, despite the early hour - in the video linked below).

I also moderated a round table, with the topic "What are the practical steps to adopting standards for identifying and controlling copyrighted works?". As everyone at my table introduced themselves, they mostly said "oh, I'm just here to learn, I don't have much to contribute" but, in fact, we had a very vigorous discussion, which covered *lots* of topics! I summarized them during the "Plenary" session (again, I've linked to the video below). We talked about three areas. First, was why we need standards - creators and rights holders should be compensated for their work, which could be financial compensation or it could be getting distribution and recognition. Second, we talked about the big barriers - technology, the culture of the Internet and human nature itself. Finally, we talked about concrete steps which the government and other organizations could take to get standards developed and adopted. (For the details, you'll need to watch the video. My segment runs from about 39:30 to about 45:55 but I recommend watching everyone's summary of their individual breakout sessions)

If you're interested in rights, then you should consider coming to London for the week of May 15th. That's because the BBC is hosting a Rights Day on May 15th, the IPTC will be holding its Spring Meeting (including discussing RightsML) on May 16th and 17th and W3C will hold its face-to-face meeting on May 18th and 19th. If you're interested in any or all, contact me and I will put you in touch with the right rights people.

Opening Remarks and Panel Session 1: Unique Identifiers and Metadata
Panel Session 2: Registries and Rights Expression Languages


Panel Session 3: Digital Marketplaces

Plenary Session



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