Thursday, September 4, 2008

Technology Causing IP Problems Everywhere

As someone engaged in music recommendation research, I am constantly hearing about the latest arguments from both sides over music intellectual property (IP) rights. I was a little surprised that college football is currently having issues over IP rights. Specifically, the issue seems to stem from live blogging, which is a very inefficient way to give live updates. It seems the NCAA views bloggers as a threat to TV and Internet coverage rights. It also appears that since the NCAA rents venues for private events, First Amendment Right issues may not come into play. Yes, it is true that the First Amendment is a protection from the government, not other people or organizations (at least, the way it is written).

However, I have hard time believing that live blogging is a threat to TV and Internet coverage revenue. Who really says, "hey, I could watch(or listen to) the game, but I would rather continually hit refresh on my browser and read what is going on!"? The truth is that live blogging is more than likely going to enhance people's enjoyment of the event. Apparently, the NCAA is against the idea of interactive media and (like the music industry) prays we stay in the 20th century.

Even more importantly, how in the heck is this going to be enforced? As I said, pulling out a laptop and posting to a blog repeatedly throughout a game is inefficient. I could do the same with my phone using Twitter's services, and I have the cheap-o free Samsung that I got for renewing my contract with my cell provider! Technically, anyone can microblog about the game. Is the NCAA really going to stand around every section in the stadium and look for people texting? They cannot even stop the frats from sneaking liquor into the stadium and get blind, stinking drunk!

Maybe, just maybe, we should really evaluate whether a new technology indeed trully is an infridgment on IP rights and whether that will translate into an actual revenue loss before we start over-reacting.

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