Crisis in Copyright Policy: How the digital monopolies have cornered culture and what it means for all of us.
With Jonathan Taplin, University of Southern California and author of Move Fast and Break Things
Chaired by Professor Sir Robin Jacob
Jonathan Taplin is Director Emeritus of the Annenburg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. His areas of specialization are in international communication management and digital media entertainment.
Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets, which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times.
Later as an investment advisor to Merrill Lynch, Taplin worked on the successful attempt to save Walt Disney Studios from a corporate raid and helped re-engineer the media landscape via transactions such as the leveraged buyout of Viacom. Taplin’s pioneering video-on-demand service, Intertainer, which he co-founded in 1996, offered licensed video content from the studios for both cable and broadband in the early stages of the internet. He and his partners also invented interactive tools for ads on the internet alongside their service, only to see their ground-breaking venture trounced by a j-v between Sony, Universal Studios, MGM and Paramount. Mr. Taplin was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Task Force in January of 2007 and was named one of the 50 most social media savvy professors in America by Online College as well as one of the 100 American Digerati by Deloitte’s Edge Institute.
In his new book “Move Fast and Break Things” Taplin offers a succinct and powerful account of how our online lives have come at a heavy price. Unprecedented growth in the value of all-powerful companies has been characterised by a massive reallocation of revenue from creators and right owners to these online platforms. This shift has, he argues, been accompanied by opaque business practices and the subordination of the privacy of individuals.
In Oxford last year, the University of Glasgow’s CREATe reported to IP academics that there are scarcely any studies on the impact of digital distribution upon the authors and performers. Yet valuable industries and important social and cultural policy rest upon the continued ability of the talent to work at what they are best at. So far we have only anecdotal evidence of the destructive impact of this unforgiving digital landscape upon the livelihoods of the talent. Jonathan Taplin’s time in the trenches means he can deliver a better informed perspective than most upon what is not just a cultural war but an economic one as well.