Using Content to Promote the Content

There are some interesting things happening in the content space right now (the understatement of the year). One thing that is really frustrating it the limits placed on using copyrighted content to promote the sales of that content.

*Podcasts that feature must to promote music
*Google Print
*Time Shifted Satellite Radio Recording

Consumers want convenience when discovering and consuming content because they know the technologies exists. Yet organizations such as the RIAA and Author’s Guild are not willing to adapt to these changes. Big media has been able to do some of these things for decades with special arrangements (Apple with New Music Tuesdays, Amazon with book previews). But now in the age of consumer created content and consumer expectations, people and companies are taking bold steps that do not fit into these traditional models, and the reaction is to sue, sue, sue.

With Google Print, Google wants to make books searchable in its engine so that these books can be discovered by Googlers. May Google profit from this? Maybe. But can anyone do this without it being a commercial venture? How better to do it than Google. And I think it does fall under “fair use.” Libraries have been using card catalogs for years to help readers find books (and for the last 15 years or so, computerized card catalog systems). No permission needed to be granted (at least for the “analog” systems). Amazon customers have been relying on book titles and reviews of readers to help readers find books. No permission needed to be granted (or did it?). Amazon also features CD music previews for most popular CDs. Does Amazon need to pay a license each time you click on a clip? Since Google indexing is new and different, are author’s just afraid of the unknown? Are they just too old to understand (I am an ageist, I admit it).

If I am an Apple iTunes affiliate, I am limited to describing music as text and showing cover art. If I play the music I am trying to help Apple sell, I may be subjected to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or Harry Fox lawyers. What should be done is a special permit should be granted for individuals trying to help Apple with their affiliate program using podcasts.

http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000763060654
The latest move of the RIAA to get Sirius in trouble for their time-shifted listening is just absurd. As a kid, I recorded from the radio all the time. Imagine RIAA going after kids who record off the radio in the 80’s when all FM tuners featured tape recorders. And this could not be protected by “fair use” and backing up a recording you already own. I think this may be the social/political climate of piracy. RIAA’s lawyers’ bloodlust after a few victories against individual consumers is perhaps causing them to think of others they can sue who do not fit into old media.

UPDATE:
11/3/2005
Good podcast on this subject here (as books are concerned).

UPDATE:
3/2006
YouTube and SNL and the nonsense that ensued. Need I say more?

Update:
1/29/07
Chris Anderson shows that the artists get this and the labels no not in his post titled Give away the music and sell the show

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