Gary Maavara, Vice President of Corus Entertainment and Jerry Brown, Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers delivered a keynote speech on digital rights in Canada. The duo started off by reminiscing about the ‘good old days’ for broadcasters when they held licenses to print money. Advertisers where forced to go through the broadcasters to reach consumers. Now the entire model has been flipped with advertisers reaching consumers directly and consumers creating their own content. The content is now nothing more then bits of information that are easily copied, with each copy being as good as the last.
Broadcasters and publishers like Corus Entertainment must find new ways to distribute and protect their content. This has proven to be incredibly difficult for those that own the rights to digital content; the industry is still struggling to find ways to regulate material that is so easily copied. With recent musical and photo mashups entering distribution channels the ownership of material becomes less clear.
These ownership questions must be resolved immediately, digital works do not take up any space to store and their ease of transmission means an end to scarcity. Consumers will get the content they are looking for whether there is a system to pay for it or not. It’s up to publishers and broadcasters to develop modern content distributions systems that will work on whatever platforms consumers are using. There is a lot of work to be done in the area of digital rights including the creation of common standards, taxonomy, and an examination of content publisher’s national and international obligations.
Jerry and Gary believe digital media content publishers will contribute much to the Canadian economy. The creative industries are job creation engines; relatively small investments can produce dramatic increases in revenue. The duo agreed that to create a fair digital rights structure government and industry must “access the basics, starting with the bits”.