There is an article in today’s NYT talking about fingerprinting technology. Fingerprinting technology basically automates the identification of a piece media. The article describes how myspace is using the technology to filter the video and audio that is uploaded, thus helping myspace to steer clear of infringing on the rights of the media owners.
So one way to view this is another technology that is helping to thwart piracy, the next logical step after DRM. However, I don’t think much will be accomplished by fingerprinting or DRM. People need to figure out how to use the viral nature of the internet to their advantage instead of trying to build fences around everything. Fred Wilson calls his solution microchunking and I think he is on to something. In addition, I believe that the disseminated content will drive consumers to that media property if properly executed e.g. watching Jon Stewart on youtube will drive people to watch Jon Stewart on TV, kids hearing songs on each other’s myspace pages will drive them to spend money on the actual music and concert tickets. I believe technologies like DRM and fingerprinting actually inhibit the monetization of content.
Another interesting side-note is that there is supposedly more investment in fingerprinting technology now. Well, I don’t think the DRM infrastructure industry is raking it on DRM technology and solutions. If you view this from the consumers side, this makes sense. Why would anyone pay more for DRM’d content? So if they are not paying more for it but someone else must profit from the sale of the content then the profits are being split among a greater number of people. And guess what, since the DRM companies are the latest to join the party they get the crumbs. I am guessing the same will try for the fingerprinting industry.
Update: And then in a bit of cosmic timing Fred posts an example of why he likes youtube. The video of Springsteen is so great and makes me want to listen to more of his music. And this type of content would rarely if ever make it to TV. It is unique to the web. And it is user generated. And… Oh well you get the point.