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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Whose content is it ?

With all the furore over mygazines this week, you’d be forgiven for thinking that magazine publishers had missed the news for the last 5 years. Then again, if they’re reading their own news pages they are probably at least six months behind everyone else...

To recap for those that missed it ; the music industry has fought a protracted (and largely unsuccessful) battle against its own users in the form of P2P download sites, eventually having to settle for cut price legal downloads (like iTunes) or advertising –led models like the Sony BMG experiment.

The same copyright battle now looks likely to break out in magazine land, with several industry bodies (MPA,PPA etc) threatening to sic the legal hounds on anyone found sharing their members content without permission. I’ll remind my partner of this next time she takes home a free magazine from a show for her mother.

This sort of argument is becoming as ludicrous and ineffectual as the posted warnings at concert venues about “no photography allowed”. Er, camera phones anyone ? Face it – technology not only enables people to share content, it actively ENCOURAGES them to do it.

And lest the publishers cry “copyright” too loudly, think on this. Virtually every magazine now contains snippets from the web, photos from You Tube, comment from forums and reader submitted photos. To whom does that copyright belong precisely ?

Talking of the Press Gazette, this news should say it all. A magazine for print journalists now online only - this internet thing might really catch on.

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