Video: Google, Technology and the Future of the Music Industry

A joint effort by the both the Art Law and the IP Law Societies at Cardozo School of Law, this Feb. 24 2010 panel set out to consider the implications/possibilities of the Google Books Settlement model as applied to the music industry.

Moderated by Prof. Felix Wu, the panel was, on the one hand, Jim Griffin – an ex-Geffen Records executive who is actively engaged in setting up a central clearing house for music royalties – and on the other, Frank Pasquale – a Seton Hall law professor who is an expert in anti-trust and competition policy. Griffin, extending his argument into a future where not just media but substances and objects will also be freely copyable, advocates strongly that the only practical solution for fair remuneration of authors / designers will be carefully implemented levies that are distributed by sophisticated actuarial licensing systems, based on sampling and algorithms, operated by private entities. Pasquale expressed antitrust concerns at allowing any single organization such control over wealth distribution. Griffin notes that Congress has on more than one occasion given antitrust exemptions so that industries may collectively represent themselves for licensing or marketing. Wu wonders how and who will pay, and how much. Pasquale notes, notwithstanding health care reform efforts, social trends are moving away from bundling to a la carte media consumption. He is uncertain that such actuarial systems will most effectively foster artistic endeavor. Griffin’s response is that only a general solution will allow the freedom of media access that society wants and deserves. A lively Q&A follows.

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Links to further reading, including several articles by both speakers can be found here. A DVD of this talk is available free ($5 donation optional) from Ask for DVD1719.

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