Two days ago boing boing posted an article about a nasty letter they got from Baker & McKenzie, legal council for Infront Sports & Media, exclusive brodcasters of this year’s World Cup.
Dave Taylor wrote a pointed critique of boing boing’s flippant response. He poses the question
…it’s hard to deny that this is actively defrauding the copyright holders and if you had just bid hundreds of millions for the broadcast and later Internet rights to a major event how would YOU work to defend those rights and ensure that you could later monetize that content?
The question here is not if the copyright holders are defrauded, the question is how could it possibly be stopped. How can copyright holders possibly hope to defend their ‘rights’ against a worldwide conspiracy? All sending nasty letters out has accomplished is to make a few Internet sites angry, cause a lot of discussion, and further cast anyone attempting to defend the copyrights in a negative light. It is unlikely that their actions will actually protect those ‘rights’. I expect that within hours of the completion any given World Cup game the broadcast will be available on a sever located in South America, China – any country that has little regard for foreign intellectual property. Sending letters to American blog sites (who, by the way, really aren’t interested in the World Cup) is like peeing into the wind.
The economic world that has existed for the last 150 years is changing. Copyright is quickly becoming a piece of history. The whole concept of Intellectual Property will end up as an odd blip in the history books. It will eventually fade into obscurity as have so many obscure legal concepts before it. Boing Boing was right to casually dismiss the legal threats with the attitude they ed. The threats are a facade designed to give the impression that Intellectual Property still exists and can be protected. In reality Infront paid millions for the right to provide World Cup coverage once. After the content is out in the wild I’m confident it will be replicated, letters or no letters.