Will your company be the next Kodak?
Are you giving your customers what they are asking for?. Continuing in the vein of Internet disruption and the demise of Kodak, when we cut through the forests of misinformation about the damage that SOPA would do to Internet companies it's not hard to determine that it has become a classic battle between the old way and the new way. And not least a new generation versus older generations. As Amy Chozick writes in today's New York Times, "The bills were put forward by the entertainment industry to combat unauthorized downloads of movies, music and television via foreign Web sites. The technorati argue that the legislation would hand the government Orwellian powers over the Internet."
It all seemed a bit like a food fight in the school cafeteria between “us” and “them.” Many of the media companies that have championed the legislation — the News Corporation, Viacom, Time Warner, Disney — have a rocky relationship with Silicon Valley. Sure, they want their content on new-school digital platforms — but they also want to keep their old-school profits. As if. Tension between the two sides seems certain to grow as the debate heats up on Capitol Hill.
Whatever the outcome, the clash prompted a remarkable outpouring within the Internet world. By late Wednesday, more than seven million people had signed an online petition from Google to stop SOPA. Many senators and representatives who previously supported the legislation had flip-flopped.
On Thursday in South Carolina, Republican presidential contenders spoke out against the bills during a debate on CNN. The audience booed when the moderator, John King, disclosed that CNN’s parent, Time Warner, supported SOPA.
Before Wikipedia went black, all of this probably seemed esoteric. But it may well go down as a watershed moment. The old media, it seems, is struggling to keep up with the Web.
This clash over protecting IP online creates tensions. The web requires content and the content/IP owners require the scale of new-era distribution that the Internet provides: TV and Cable companies can keep shows alive and profit from them by distributing them across the web. And yet there's also a failure on the side of the old guard to understand how new generations of web-users want to access their content. The answer is to adapt to consumer needs. On the web people will not change their behavior to suit a brand's needs - the brand needs to provide what consumers are asking for and actually doing. Or become Kodak.
Meanwhile "..technology types don’t see this as a battle between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. They see it as a battle between old and new.
“It’s ultimately about disruptive and disintermediating technologies versus incumbent industry,” said Michael H. Rubin, a lawyer who has represented several large Internet companies in copyright cases. Incumbent industries, he said, chose “litigation and legislation over innovation.”
One thing is certain, you can't litigate human behavior.