The Berkman Center has just formally launched its Digital Media in Cyberspace project, designed to examine a series of possible future scenarios for the digital media crisis. Our initial five scenarios — subject to further refinement as we move ahead — are: 1) no change in the law, but the technology continues to advance; 2) taking property rights seriously; 3) technology defenses work; 4) the public utility scenario; and 5) an alternative compensation system. Our study will analyze these scenarios from economic, business model, legal and public interest angles. We are grateful for the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, and our partners at Gartner|G2 — notably research director Mike McGuire and VP James Brancheau. Our research fellow Urs Gasser will be joined by a few others, as well as a team of exceptional students and affiliates, in the months to come. We also expect to set up a project weblog, a series of meetings and conferences, and to publish some papers on this topic over the next three years or so.
For a short description of our exploration of the fifth of these scenarios, please see this short piece on Alternative Compensation Systems.