With SOPA and PIPA shelved at least for the moment, it is time to start thinking about alternatives. It would be a shame if we limited our collective thinking here to slightly different versions of those bills instead of exploring what a different approach to copyright could be that doesn’t try to fight the characteristics of the Internet but rather embraces them, providing value for rights creators/holders, technology companies and endusers.
One interesting entry here is Ian Rogers (from Topspin Media) proposal for a rights and media registry. It’s worth reading the entire post and also the comments, which include good questions from Andy and clarifying answers from Ian. In essence such a registry would enable tech companies to deliver innovative user experiences on top of content, as long as they respect the prices set by the rights holders. Rights holders would be entitled to enforcement only if they participate in the registry.
I believe this direction is very promising and is also something that was recommended by a report that the UK government’s copyright office had commissioned. An important addition though would be that this should not be a centralized registry (which then requires an operator and become a single point of control and failure) but rather a standard for publication that would allow for a decentralized implementation.