Larry Page on Free Web Content, Standards, & Digital Rights Management
Publishers, please consider the following 1174 word article
about standards, interoperability and DRM (Digital Rights
Management) as they relate to free web content to improve
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Free Web Content, Standards, & Digital Rights Management
Larry Page, Google Video and Proprietary Content Walls
© Copyright January 17, 2006 by Mike Banks Valentine
Above is the Consumer Electronics Show Keynote speech by
Larry Page of Google in which he makes a public plea for
"Standards" in consumer electronics and software
interoperability. He does this as a prelude to introducing
Google Video to the public and introduces Leslie Moonves of
CBS to announce availability of CBS shows and NBA basketball
games on the new video service.
I've long groused to relatives and friends that I ought to be
able to take cell phone photos on my phone provider and send
them to my family members, who each use differing cell phone
providers - but you can't do that because the providers want
you to switch to their service to be able to send photos
taken on that phone. But what if you also need to send them
to someone who can't change cell providers?
I wanted to get a Motorola iPod ROKR phone when they
announced that they'd be making them available, so I could
listen to my iTunes songs while connected to my phone. I
didn't get one because only one cell phone provider has them
and I wasn't willing to switch providers. How absurd! Did
Cingular beleive all iTunes or iPod users would jump ship
from their cell providers to run over and buy that phone?
So back to Larry Page and Google Video ... As I said, I have
an iPod and want to be able to download those Google Video's
to my iTunes (both computer and iPod) and play them there.
While Page suggested that it was possible to do that (on
non-copy protected videos), I've seen comments suggesting
that the Digital Rights Management (DRM) used in Google Video
is different from that in the iPod / iTunes DRM.
I imagine that Page brought up DRM because they were
compelled to copy protect many of the copyrighted videos they
would sell through the new service and Apple wouldn't make
their iTunes / iPod DRM standard available or interoperable
with Google Video DRM. Sony Play Station Portable (PSP) has
the same issue (love that rootkit Sony) with DRM and Page
mentioned PSP in his speech as well.
So finally, I'll get to my point about freely available
web content. I established the Free-Content list in 1999 to
make articles of writers online available to publishers
online for use in ezines, newsletters and on web sites.
Authors have always only asked for one thing in exchange for
that use - a link back to their web site.
We authors do this to increase our reach, our visibility and
our web site rank. As publishers we do it to increase our
valuable content and offer our readers more than we are able
to produce ourselves - to broaden available viewpoints beyond
our own limited views and to increase search engine rank. How
interesting that FREELY available content does so much for
all three parties - Author, Publisher, Reader can all find
(on the search engines) material we are interested in, view
related advertisements (from Google Adsense) that may very
well be of extreme interest to reader, support the publisher
(and the advertiser, and Google) while that link back to the
authors site increases their visibility in search engines.
What an amazing feedback loop.
So back to Larry Page and his plea for standards and
interoperability ... He stated plainly that standards would
lead to inventions nobody could foresee or that no one person
could dominate or control. I agree emphatically and believe
that Free web content has the same beneficial effects on the
web due to those things mentioned above. I believe that the
"Creative Commons" open content licensing agreements benefit
all in the same way open standards of DRM would benefit video
and music content producers if you take the power and control
out of the hands of Sony and Apple and CBS and Cingular and
Motorola and put it in the hands of the content authors.
Why hasn't Creative Commons taken hold as strongly on Video,
Music and the visual arts as it has in writing and textual
Larry page missed an opportunity there. Maybe a conscious
decision NOT to support Creative Commons was made. Maybe it
was too controversial to discuss with CBS's Moonves on stage
beside him and hundreds of consumer electronics executives
and representatives in the Consumer Electronics Show keynote
audience. None of those company execs would support open
standards if it meant they lose control of their content
The geeks in attendance (Page, in his comments, included
himself in that group) would all LOVE to be able to swap
Google Videos between their phones (Verizon Vcast - which
won't allow it), iPods, Personal Computers (both Apple and
Windows boxes), Sony PSP's, Microsoft Xboxes and any future
standards-based players. But it is not to be unless and until
those competing companies see a way to share in the profits.
Google is sharing profits from their Adwords advertising with
Adsense for publishers while providing one of possibly the
greatest services (free search to find content). There will
emerge methods and inventions to share profits if
manufacturers and service providers let go of their
proprietary DRM and approve standards of interoperability
among electronic devices.
I might attempt to sell this article to the New York Times who
might pay me for the three hours it took to write - but I'd
rather it is seen, used and my voice is heard more widely.
I've been published & paid by the NY Times for photographs
but they are not available anywhere to my knowledge now.
I would love to see them available online instead of the old
delicate, yellowing newsprint tear sheet I have of those photos.
I publish this article under creative commons 2.5 license
Publish101.com Besides, the New York Times
definitely wouldn't link to my site, then they'd suck the
editorial into their walled garden and ask $3.95 for anyone
to read it after is was online for a week or two. No thanks.
WebSite101.com is viewed over a million times a year
and I've made more via Google Adsense by freely publishing
the articles I write on that site (and distributing the articles
freely for others to use) than I was paid by the Times for use
of those pictures. Free web content is profitable! Go figure.