Winning a battle, losing a war

The whole Pirate Bay thing has never really interested me. Now, when the verdict has been delivered it is (only a little) interesting to reflect on the future. All the players fo this drama must know how the conflict eventually will end. From my very distant perspective this really isn't about copyright laws. It is more about middlemen in the market fighting for their existence and earning streams in the face of disruptive and fast change (ergo Internet).

My forecast is we'll end up with a new market "contract" that goes something like this:
  • Customers will pay reasonable money for intellectual and creative achievements. And respect the rights of the creator. This does not include middlemen that no longer add value in a digital world.
  • Artists will increasingly themselves determine what rights they reserve for their work (much according to the principles of creative commons)
  • Artists, etc will continue to get payed, but in new ways and in smaller increments and from an increasing amount of sources. Some will make a living from their artistic work, but far from all (as before).
  • Very talented and/or market-oriented artists will draw huge followings and continue to do well. Middlemen that creatively add new value will be able to make a living, and the best will continue to do well. 
  • The (market) relationship between artist and customer/audience will be much more direct, perhaps even tribal (see Seth Godin's writing on this theme).

An obvious consequence of this is that the whole "industry" of middlemen like records companies, movie companies, etc will lose profit margins, market power and market relevance. Some will reinvent themselves. Most won't.

So, a battle was won/lost today depending on perspective. But the outcome is more or less pre-determined.


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