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Wired reports of ex-cheerleader Whitney Harper (all_American girl, all-American name), who is being pursued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) over some music files she downloaded when she was a teenager. Harper is a little incredulous saying that;

I would do homework on that computer and listen to music. I didn’t know I was stealing or distributing it. I thought I was like  listening to MTV on the internet

In a twist worthy of Oprah, Harper is refusing to settle out of court at the $200 per song minimum charge the legislation allows and is instead eyeing down the opposition and waiting for them to take her to court.

An interesting story but the bigger issue here is the general copyright one. In this day and age the old world way of chasing copyright infringement is just too slow, too unwieldy and two out of tune with the way we use data.

Clearly those who create work (be it music, art or, dare I say it, blog posts) deserve the credit and potential revenue from their creation – but the adversarial and litigation fuelled status quo is definitely not the answer.

So what do we do – how do we, in this hyper connected and mutual sharing world, create an IP model that protects the interests of both creator and user?

Thoughts anyone?

(And in an update the Judge rejected her claim, but her lawyer will appeal the ruling)

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Hmm, the RIAA? Seems like another outdated group of greedy middlemen trying to protect their profit margins, rather than “those who create work (be it music, art or, dare I say it, blog posts)”.

    Im pretty sure that artists will more and more go direct to the public, leaving the RIAA with an ever dwindling profit margin.
    Litigation is generally a pretty good sign that the companies involved are just not understanding where the world is at.

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