The Japanese tend to get cool tech far before it reaches the U.S. This time, though, they’re previewing un-cool regulation. The Japan Times Online reports on confusion caused by the Japanese version of the broadcast flag, “a special transmission signal that allows only a single copy of the program to be made.”
Measures implemented by NHK and private TV broadcasting companies to control the copying of digital television programs have drawn a flood of complaints from TV users, with some saying they have been deprived of certain editing freedoms. …
Because programs that have been copied once cannot be duplicated or edited digitally, editing the programs via a personal computer has become impossible.
Broadcasters and copyright holders claim they’re concerned about copyright violation, but this “remedy” sweeps much too broadly. The elderly people confused by why their expensive equipment no longer works as expected weren’t likely trying to infringe copyright. Neither would a child who wanted to edit a news clip in which she appeared to a size to send to her parents, or a parent recording a cartoon to save for his kids.
Japan’s apparently voluntary system offers us a preview of what the U.S. is in for in July 2005, when the FCC’s “broadcast flag” mandate takes effect here. Buy now to get your fully user-configurable technology, or prepare to be surprised by what you can no longer do.
I just caught up with Suw’s terrific analysis of the spread of Free Culture: Something for Nothing: The Free Culture AudioBook Project. It’s a great illustration of the power of openness: because Free Culture was released under a license that allowed follow-on creativity, its readers became joint creators and disseminators.
In these new models, the new collaborators can also be the distributors and the consumer. Sometimes there is no need for a facilitator and the writer can communicate directly with the collaborators. But most importantly, these models provide flexibility in terms of how the reader accesses the product.
In addition to providing access to the product, these models facilitate the building of a creative community around a publication which helps to promote it via word of mouth. The key to making these communities - be they ‘flash’ communities that come together for a given project and then disband, or more permanent - succeed is to utilise an enabling licence such as those provided by Creative Commons.
Openness, of course can be provided in many ways: open formats like HTML, .txt, RSS, and atom, enable the building of artistic and technological derivatives — audio books, text search tools, aggregators; open licenses such as the GPL and Creative Commons empower users to create these derivatives with minimal lawyering. In combination, open tech and law create value. Works move from isolated objects to parts of the culture, as the creation of derivatives recruits readers and new creators.