We need to have the 'paid' business model as well. In most cases, if not all, more choices are better than fewer in a market. Here are some things that I think we need to do to make it viable.
We should control piracy.
I have not had this conclusion for a long time, ever since I got interested in the digital content business model around 2000. Not because I was not sure about the value of intellectual property, but because I thought that the cost of stopping piracy would be too high.
But now I believe that with proper measures, piracy can be effectively contained. We won't be able to remove all piracy. We don't need to. We only need to make 90% (or 95%... Suffice to say "high enough") of the market safe to protect creators' (of paid contents, of course) compensation from being materially affected.
Based on experiences of Korea (see the table in part 1), which is still far and probably farther than the US or Japan from piracy-free, piracy control does increase the total content markets. I have read Sheryl Crow interview, but it is much worse in Korea. Here is Haechul Shin, who is a well-known rock singer in Korea
"Let's say we harvested 10 crops. Thieves steal 9, and the 1 left is divided and distributed. And the thieves sometimes give us a lecture." Also, "They call the buyers of CDs fools, but they are the ones musicians really thank. But we have so few of them. I wish there were at least 2 or 3 times of them who could be guards to keep the minimum."
I don't think it is a good idea for us, the audience, to make the musicians frustrated and angry.
(He also said that some musicians just use a Melodeo instrument, which seems like a kind of a musical synthesizer, to make a song targeted at the ring-tone, the most commercially viable format for the past few years in Korea. No orchestra, no band because you cannot tell the difference anyway in the ring-tone. Having played guitar in a rock band myself, I will be very disappointed if this is the future of music.)
We should have more standardized copyright options.
One point I want to make clear again is that I am not against 'free' models. Innomove Lab, which is my business, has free web services. And I am personally writing Mass Niche openly. I am just against using non-free contents without paying the price.
I like Creative Commons concept in that it gives more options than "nothing can be done" or "you can do anything". I am still learning about it, but it seems to me that we need more licenses. All CC licenses seem to allow non-commercial use of the entire content (and grant some other rights or not). However, for many musicians and other creators, this may not work, as I said in part 1.
I think we need to have something like "Sampling/quotation is fine. But using the whole work, for commercial or non-commercial purposes, is not." That way, creators who want to encourage people to create more creative works using parts of their work (quoting paragraphs of a book, sampling a melody of a song, etc.) without going through complex clearance process. Creators may apply this to non-commercial and/or commerical purposes.
If we have this kind of license and probably more options, I am certain that there will be much less tension between free vs. non-free camps. "We have all spectrum, now it is your choice."
Another reason why I like CC initiative is that it makes copyrights understandable to people. I guess you could custom make your own copyright terms, but small businesses or individuals don't have that kind of knowledge or resources. Having standardized licenses from which one can pick is such a great thing for them.
We need a DRM (or call it differently, if you hate the term) that is associated with a person, not a device.
One interesting survey I found was done by mybytes.com. If you look at week2 poll, you will find that most students think they should be allowed to burn a CD whenever they can.
I am with them. If you don't want me to make copies and give them away to other people, I would not (maybe other than to my family. Maybe another license for 'sharing with family allowed' needed?). But, if you say I cannot burn a CD so that I can enjoy it in my car, I am going to say 'you know what'.
But it seems many of current DRM solutions do not allow you to move your content around between different devices. I can understand what they are worried about, but it is just so inconvenient. In this case, the price of an MP3 music, which is usually lower than that of a CD, suddeny appear too high. Rather than trying to change our behavior and sense of what is right and wrong, I recommend developing solutions that are more in line with our common sense.
I know that there are people who want to remove DRM completely. They seem to think protecting something, which otherwise can be shared by everyone is wrong or at least a waste. I would like to point that people like to share but not everything. Sometimes we want to get compensated for sharing something, and other times we don't want to share at any price (e.g. privacy). And talking about waste, there are so many wastes we would not need if we could change our protective behavior: fence, your locker in the gym, private meeting rooms, and to some degree your bank accounts.
If you think that kind of behavior is wrong and we should be educated or forced to share more, I have nothing to say. That is a topic for politics or philosophy. I am just thinking about business models to satisfy existing needs. If you want to change (or regulate) people's needs, go ahead and do it. But meanwhile, please allow solutions for them to be developed.
We need a more user-friendly micropayment solution.
I often meet contents, that are priced like 5 dollars. I am tempted to buy, but often do not. And the primary reason is not that I think the price is too high. I don't like to spend time taking out credit card from my wallet and entering my information. In my mind, that time costs a lot more than 5 dollars. Also, I don't like giving out those sensitive information here and there. I am sure many of you are similar.
I wish there were something like offline cash on the Internet. Take out my cash, give it, and I am gone with the purchase. It takes just a few clicks and there is no sensitive information given. It is just like you going into a convenience store and buying a can of cola with cash.
I know there have been a lot of attempts at micropayment business models, but haven't heard anything successful yet. PayPal is probably close, but not efficient enough. Companies like Mobilians and Danal (at which my colleague Chihyung worked) in Korea provide simple mobile phone payment which is quite close to my ideal solution. The problem is that they are widely used in Korea but not globally available yet. I hear they are developing businesses in China, the US, etc.
Anyway, if there were such a solution, I would certainly be buying a lot more contents. And I believe there are many people like me.