Thursday, May 08, 2008

Cut, Copy, Paste Kills Copyright (for now)

I am often asked by publishers, "Who is iCopyright's biggest competitor?" The answer is not usually obvious and takes them by surprise: "Cut, Copy and Paste!" It has 90% of the available market. That's right. The most generous estimates are that less than 10% of the content that is emailed, copied, posted, republished, or otherwise repurposed for commercial and educational purposes (as opposed to personal use), is done so with a valid license. Contrary to what content owners think, iCopyright does not compete with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), Mochilla, Voxant, Macrovision, Attributor, or any of the other content licensing or syndication solutions on the market. Collectively, these solutions have less than 10% of the market...mere scraps.

iCopyright competes against a culture that tolerates (and even encourages) people to take other people's content with impunity. One might ask, "How can iCopyright possibly compete with that?" That's a longer and more complicated answer, best saved for another blog.

Here's a hint: In the 1980's and early 1990's, 80% of all software was copied and distributed freely without a license, in violation of the publisher's copyrights. Today, only about 10% of software is pirated -- mostly in countries with weak copyright education and enforcement. The vast majority of software is legally licensed. The tide did turn for software and will eventually do so for digital content. Cut, Copy, Paste may be killing copyright today, but in the long run, copyright will prevail. iCopyright is helping to lead the way.

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