First off, let me thank Gigi Sohn for inviting me as a guest blogger. I have resisted the urge to dive in full time into the blogosphere for several reasons (with the lack of time being the foremost reason), but her invitation was too good to resist.
As readers of this blog appreciate, Public Knowledge and Gigi's leadership address a critical need in our emerging information economy–all too often, debates on matter of telecommunications policy, digital copyright issues, or patent law feature either a chorus or a food fight (pick whichever metaphor applies) comprised of industry participants without anyone to represent consumers. PK's emergence on the scene changes this dynamic and answers the question that students often ask me when hearing about the overwhelming votes in favor of laws like the Copyright Term Extension Act–“who represented the public” in such debates?
For my first post, I will address an issue raised by a project I am now working on in connection with the Aspen Institute's Communications and Society program. This project, under Charlie Firestone's able leadership, recently hosted a conference on “The Future of Video.” With a number of top flight participants from industry, academia, and government, the conference wrested with a series of difficult questions related to the topic. As the reporter of the conference (or “rapponteur,” as Charlie likes to call the role), it is my job to offer a thoughtful narrative and encapsulation of the discussion from the perspective of being an “informed” observer. So, I figure, how better to be informed than to ask for some feedback from thoughtful PK blog readers.
For your consideration and suggestions, here's my question: what's special about the emerging video/media marketplace? My top three suggestions are (1) the ability of users to be producers and offer really cool content that otherwise would not be viewed; (2) the ability of old programs, long locked in the vault of content producers, to be made available (Wonder Woman, anyone?); and (3) the ability to combine content together (mash-ups) for really interesting combinations (try, Gnarls Barkley and Frank Sinatra on for size). As IP gurus appreciate, all three scenarios raise interesting IP issues, which I will look forward to addressing over the next two weeks. Not to mention, I'll have lots to say about telecom policy, too.