The Berkman Session Yesterday

CNet’s got some coverage: Debating digital media’s future. It’s mostly summaries of three key approaches: compulsory licensing, DRM and stricter DMCA enforcement.

Attendees at the conference, held at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass., posed a number of scenarios to achieve the goal of extending consumer access to media through digital devices while respecting the copyrights of content creators and publishers. Talk focused primarily on the highly visible and controversial practice of downloading music over the Internet, but it touched on all types of electronic media.

Overall, attendees agreed that the entertainment industry has been slow to develop viable business models for the Internet. Meanwhile, unauthorized distribution of content on file-sharing networks such as Kazaa and Morpheus has become commonplace.

“The legal and regulatory environment and the business models have not been able to keep up with this situation,” said James Brancheau, a media analyst at Gartner. “This is a massive problem today.”

Derek’s got two postings – I’m going to have to come back to them, but here they are for your reading pleasure:

Update: John Palfrey points to the article in the Boston Globe: Harvard symposium debates future of online file-sharing

“There was a time that to make a copy, you needed a monk, and a desk, and months,” said Charles Nessen of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, a sponsor of the gathering.

“And then Sean Fanning hit the scene,” he said, referring to the college dropout who founded the wildly popular music-trading Web site Napster, which was shut down in 2001 after battling the music industry over copyright infringement.

The rocket speed of digital media technology, which can put a pirated movie onto the Internet in hours, pirated CDs and DVDs on street corners around the world in days, and allows home computer users to swap music using “peer-to-peer” file-sharing software, is fundamentally changing the music and movie industry.