IMAG 2006: On Digital Rights, No Answers, But Right Questions

On day two of the IMAG leadership conference this morning at the W Hotel, there were plenty of questions coming out of a panel entitled Copyright Licensing in a Digital Age, and, perhaps not surprisingly, few answers. Eric Rayman, counsel with Miller Korzenik Summers LLP and one of the guys who worked on The New Yorker‘s controversial project to digitize its archives, called it “an incredibly confusing area.” The New Yorker, of course, walked the legal tightrope by putting out DVDs of their entire archive, but Rayman thinks they will put it online eventually.

A few of the more interesting questions:

  • What are magazines prepared to do when Google decides to extend its controversial library project — in which itends to scan every book ever written, drawing the ire of book publishers &#151 to glossy works? “I assume it’s in their business plan,” Rayman said.
  • Who owns the photos on MySpace and Facebook? Rayman says “in the absence of any contract, the photographer that took them,” which would make something like publishing a Facebook book tricky.
  • Who owns user-generated content?

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