Wealth is increasingly created by empowering prosumers on networks. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others are in on this.

They are onto the new paradigm. They challenge old business models.

The owners of old business models continue to respond with litigation seeking to preserve the basis of their monopoly rights. This includes the long standing litigation case by Viacom against YouTube.

What’s a prosumer?

Let’s back up a bit to understand the term prosumer."future_shock_book_cover"

In short hand prosumers = producers + consumers. The authors (prosumers?) who wrote the Wikipedia entry chart the concept’s intellectual lineage back to many authors, eg:

  • Alvin Tofler in Future Shock (1970)
  • Marshall McLuhan and Barrington Nevitt in Take Today (1972)
  • Don Tapscott in The Digital Economy (1995) and again in Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2006)
  • Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger in The Cluetrain Manifesto (1999)

Now return to the Viacom versus Google court case. Here at Lightbulb copyright law and IP litigation are core business for us. So we’ve written several times before on that lawsuit – here (March 2007),  here (March 2007) and here (Oct 2007).

Chief Levine speaks

The latest muse for us is the opening paragraph of the 18 March blog post by Zahavah Levine, YouTube Chief Counsel.

Chief Levine posted it as her legal team responded to the latest rounds in Viacom’s two year $US1 billion lawsuit against Google. Her post is about many things.

Our take on Chief Levine’s blog post is that it focuses on a part of Viacom’s game play to build spin for her legal positioning for Google in the court of public opinion.

(This is the way of modern litigation. Wired companies build wealth for prosumers on networks. They sell into or via social media. Wired companies also use Web 2.0 tools (blogs) to spin in litigation. Nothing wrong with that (if it is used with discretion), but that’s what’s going down.)

Chief Levine’s post is titled: “Broadcast Yourself” (http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/03/broadcast-yourself.html). By using that YouTube tagline the obvious message being communicated is that Google is fighting for the little guy, here read “prosumers”.

Here’s the opening paragraph (emphasis added):

"youtube_logo_tag_line"“Around the globe, YouTube has become a metaphor for the democratizing power of the Internet and information. YouTube gives unknown performers, filmmakers, and artists new ways to promote their work to a global audience and rise to worldwide fame; makes it possible for political candidates and elected officials to interact with the public in new ways; enables first-hand reporting from war zones and from inside repressive regimes</span>; and lets students of all ages and backgrounds audit classes at leading universities.”

"youtube_filter_yourself"In response Viacom is saying, filter yourself.

There’s one comment so far to that post. “Indian blogger” writes: “go google, youtube rocks”. Kerching!

Pre-publicity: Our firm is co-producing an event shaped by the dialectic between content (read copyright) owners and new media networks. Watch this space for dates and details.

Noric Dilanchian