It's Not Rights

Well, it's only Wednesday and it's already a week where media rights are making all the headlines.

First of all Jeremy Clarkson allegedly punches a Producer who forgot to get him a hot dinner and one of the most lucrative brands in television is thrown into disarray. Top Gear is a franchise worth hundreds of millions between the programme sales, format sales, publicstions, DVDs, live shows and licensing and merchandising and is owned by the BBC and sold commercially by BBC Worldwide. Ironically they bought the format off Jeremy Clarkson a couple of years ago.

Then there was the shock ruling that Pharrell Williams / Robin Thicke "Blurred Lines" track had plagarised Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up", potentially opening the floodgates for other similar claims that might mire the music industry in rights litigation for decades.

It is ironic that despite their importance, rights are so poorly understood or covered outside the negotiations for Premiership TV and other top sports events and regular stories on piracy. However, as more and more media assets are virtualised and exist only as a feed from the cloud, the ability to effectively manage rights is going to be even more important. This extends from the exploitation of rights in the most effective way to the policing of the usage of the rights.

And this does not just affect the media industry, but other sectors such as electronics manufacturing (I wonder how many third party rights there are to the iPad on which I am writing this post) and pharmaceuticals.