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"Big Content" is strangling American innovation


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"Big Content" is strangling American innovation
Topic: Intellectual Property 1:39 pm EDT, Apr  4, 2011

Okay, so the Harvard Business Review is finally taking notice that big content providers are doing their best to prevent any new technology from entering the marketplace.

I think that's short-sighted of them to say. I'll say it more accurately.

Big content is doing their best to prevent any new technology from entering the marketplace unless and until they get a cut, preferably the lion's share of profits, and in some cases, even more than that. Nevermind that in all cases they've done nothing to invent or promote the technology, they just feel like they should be the ones to profit from it first and foremost, above all else.

One really shining example is the massive fees associated with "broadcasting" music online. Transmitter fees included, it's now cheaper to run a terrestrial radio station than it is to run an online streaming site by far, simply because the fees that online sites have to pay are massive in comparison to what a terrestrial radio station pays, and massive in comparison to almost any other market. That change spelled the end for a great many "web radio" stations, and is slowly strangling the life out of the rest of them.

Another great example is the recent s**tstorm Time-Warner incurred by merely attempting to facilitate streaming of a few channels that, let's face it, not that many people care about (I'm looking at you, HGTV.) to the iPads of customers of Time-Warner cable. The only thing this amounted to was Time-Warner attempting to provide a value-add to their customers by letting them watch some channels on their iPads in addition to their televisions, but HGTV (among others) threw a complete fit about it because basically... they weren't getting paid for that value-add.

Nevermind that they weren't being asked to lift a finger, promote it, or otherwise invest one single penny in it, nor did they have anything to do with developing the iPad app that would make it happen, or pay for the hardware or maintenance that Time-Warner was eating... They refused to allow it because they weren't getting paid more for something someone else was doing to make their existing viewers happier.

They didn't invent it, they didn't help make it, they didn't even concieve of it. Why should they be paid for it at all?

"Big Content" is strangling American innovation

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