Friday, October 19, 2012

The Rights Alchemy

Every now and then comes an epoch. Some ten years ago I predicted that everyone would one day be watching video over IP, put my money where my mouth was and built a company that developed the first cloud based TV operating system. But as I've admitted in recent blogs, we're still some way away from where I expected TV to be by now.

However, let me repeat past sins and predict that the next technology breakthrough will be around rights.

The physical or virtual format of an asset is no longer important. In a world of brands, these can manifest themselves in many ways, as this week's release of the latest Bond movie shows.

This global franchise is a mega brand, made even more valuable by its rarity, with a new movie only being created every few years. The assets it generates range from advertising syndication rights, to toy cars, oh, and they also made a movie to boot.

But the rights emanating from such brands are very vaporous concepts. Until they are conceived and exploited, they sit in the ether.

Even the core product can be amorphous. The latest Bond movie was made by combining money and light (with credit to John Boorman). Of course, along the way there are ongoing contributions, adaptions, innovations, performances and creations by a lot of very, very talented people. And they will all receive ongoing payment for these contributions.

So, not only is the world made up of rights, it's made up of two dimensional rights: earned rights and due rights.

The next great opportunities lay with being able to facilitate a world with only one copy of a work - much like the icons that are the Mona Lisa, or the Empire State Building. There is only one master. Everything else is rights.

With ultimate bandwidth, file sharing is no longer necessary and the whole world can access the master - via the rights gate.