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Harvard Tries to Educate Hollywood

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HARVARD TRIES TO EDUCATE HOLLYWOOD
By
June 10, 2003

"[T]he very same [security] technologies can be employed to better protect pirates and their peer-to-peer distribution networks from the entertainment industry." The conclusion of Trusted Computing, Peer-To-Peer Distribution, and the Economics of Pirated Entertainment.

What do you get when you lock 3 Harvard professors in a room? A kindergarten lesson. I've always thought academia trailed industry by five years. But this is major regression.

The Harvard profs trumpet tit-for-tat. It works whether you’re pinching Jenny's arm on the playground, or trying to secure your precious digital file. The tactic is part of standard MBA training in Decision Making 101 where grown adults relearn what they forgot in childhood. At least at Yale where I studied. While ridiculously simple, the strategy is surprisingly effective and resilient.

The professors are saying 'anything you can do I can do better'. Or maybe it's 'I'm rubber, you're glue', ... or one of those damn sayings. I forget. It’s been a few years since kindergarten or MBA school. In any event, tit-for-tat is hardly novel. 50 million Americans have followed the game: Napster becomes huge. RIAA sues. RIAA wins and Napster dies. Techies respond with Gnutella and Kazaa. Gnutella and Kazaa become huge. RIAA sues. RIAA loses.

So let's try for extra credit with Beginning Business Strategy 102. Who moves faster? An oligopoly mired in the petrified morass of organizational structure, contracts, and business practices it created. Or a phalanx of wiseass college students and open source coders that can out-innovate, out-hack, and out-flank whatever feeble efforts big media tries? I can hardly wait for Harvard's proclamation on that one.

"Trusted Computing, Peer-To-Peer Distribution, and the Economics of Pirated Entertainment"
http://www.eecs.harvard.edu

Copyright 2003, Marc Freedman

 


 

Copyright 2003-4 Marc Freedman. All Rights Reserved.

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