Monday, 6 September 2010

A room of one's own: an unattainable dream?

Where there's an online product, you'll soon find a hacker or a pirate.

The latest examples that confirm the human urge to scream 'Mine' very loudly are Andy Coulson's tenure as editor of the News of the World (phone hacking has been alleged by, most recently, the New York Times) and hacker success in distributing popular ebooks for free.

Even the unveiling of the Stig's identity on Top Gear smacks of the school playground bully, tearing off the wings of a butterfly.

At stake, personal and professional privacy, and the right to make money from electronic products.

This is a gold rush in reverse where, in a landscape where information wants to be free, no one is allowed to make money. This spells disaster to conventional business models for creative companies. The globalisation effects of YouTube, home recording and back-bedroom piracy will propel the media into a dangerous Wild West outlaw world where copyright is seen as red tape and creatives won't be able to earn a crust. The new billionaires will be the sharp-elbowed owners of the speakeasies at the edge of the law and beyond.

The likes of Mick Jagger, J K Rowling, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and Dan Brown represent the last of a dying breed: stars who get rich through their imaginations.

Search for piracy

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