(This article was written in anticipation of the ALLi organized session at Frankfurt Book Fair on this topic and will be updated with the developments. It has been inspired by ALLi and the articles written by Orna Ross.)
Cutting edge technology is usually here to solve problems we never knew we had at the first place. There is much less talk, however, about problems that have been around for a while and have finally become close to being solved.
Some of the problems creative industry as a whole is facing concern author payments, licensing and rights. With an amazing amount of ‘free’ content available (speaking of music on Youtube or Spotify, news and other types of journalistic content, books and images), it is hardly traceable how and when the creators will get paid. With an astonishingly long chain between writers and readers, creators and audience, it is only a fraction of the money that gets back to the original creators of the IP. Not to mention that in addition to taking a big slice of the cake, end-distributors use data and advertising revenue generated mainly by content they don’t own – this data and revenue is never redistributed.
On the other hand, licences are difficult to get hold of. If I would like to find a picture for illustration purposes, I can search certain databases for free-to-use images and then hope that the information is correct. While the creative commons standard improved this area a lot, there is still a lot of unauthorized use. (This could be due to mechanisms being mistaken and only partially automatized.)
Unauthorized use can range from posting a cool gif on tumblr without crediting the original creator (as there is literally no way to find it) to obvious theft. It is not only end-user piracy content creators are afraid of, but monetizing stolen IP. There is always the option of better DRM. But does it really solve the problem?