The statement already got twittered by my colleague Thomas Gottron and retweeted by many others

I am at www2012 conference and after the keynote by Neelie Kroes there was a panel discussion with her, Tim Berners Lee and Gille Babinet.
The discussion was about the question “Weather access to an open internet should be a human right?”

Clearly knowing where I am standing on this issue (yes it should be!) I was very happy that this question was discussed in front of such an audience. Tim Berners Lee obviously agreed on this point and Neelie Kroes really had some great and very diplomatic insights.

But for some reason the discussion always drifted up to the drawbacks of the web like copyright infringement. I was starting to get annoyed by this. Especially because it was always going as Free web vs copyright protection. So I decided to ask a question during Q&A which I am now about to blog.

During Q&A I also gave a litte background on the actuall question but I want to be a bit more detailed in my blog:

  • So yes I wish the “open web” to be a human right.
  • And I also think it is really important to protect the copyrights of artists, musicians and other people creating stuff. Working together with In Legend I really know how hard it is for a musician to survive and it is really important that he gets paid for what he does and shares.
  • BUT: the discussion is always an “eather – or” discussion and goes in the wrong direction! Bastian Emig from In Legend is very open minded about new ways to use the web working for the musician. Already in the plenary session Tim pointed out that he did not invent the Web to harm the record industry. But it is rather the record industry that refuses to think about new business models and just wishes everything to stay in the old ways which used to work quite well for them. 
  • I made the experience that a band still needs to have a record label. You don’t get booked without the label. You don’t get articles in big print mags. The label gives you trust within the industrie and without that you are not seen by many people. And so on…
  • But just in my experience I see that the record label does big harm to a musician. As a member of this musicband I want to share our music on the web. Since there is piracy – which I cant change – I just have to think about a way how I could profit from it. Obviously by sharing the music myself I can increase my reach. This could significantly increase my chances for direct marketing (making the record label kind of obsolate) and this is what the labels seem to be afraid of. The web offers several huge opportunities for musicians to become recognized and an established act. But Labels own the licences and block musicians in doing smart and wise moves on the web.
  • I realize this problem exists due to the fact that labels have a monopoly on the product and too much power but pretending to protect the interests of the artists. Thereby hiding the fact that they are just fighting for their very own interests which do not neccessarily correlate  whitch those from artists.

Here my question / point

It is not about copyright vs free / open internet. It is much more about a new model of copyright that can coexist with a free internet. In This new model licence owners (e.g. the labels) wouldn’t build those exclusive monopolies giving them such a high power. I asked what can be done to establish a new way of thinking about copyright. Since it really does not make sense that itunes gets 50% royalties for a digital distribution that is almost free of cost which I could easily run myself!

First of all – to my surprise – this won me a big applause from the audience which happened very rarely during the conference.

The full panel and discussion can be found at:

Gille – to whom the question was originally directed – who is very friendly to the record industry answered some stuff I don’t even remember but he was basically stumbling around.

But then two really great answers came along:

“We are working on this and we see that the biggest issue is the record industrie. They pretend to protect the artists and they are not! We need legislation but maybe we need new forms of legislation. Models that worked well in the past may not serve our needs in todays world. I agree with you that you are pointing to the most cruicial point in this discussion.”

Me being totally satisfied with her answer sat down but Tim Berners Lee wanted to say something:
“You know it! Think of a world that you want. Just imagine it!

  • What would be the distribution? 
  • what would be the user interface? 
  • What would be the processes? 
  • What third parties would be involved.

Go out and build it! Talk to the people here. Install an apache server and just go geek and make it happen!”

what a great statement!

It is always nice to have ideas and see solutions to problems. And yes you can always wine around and do nothing. But as a matter of the fact right now the web is still open an free! The technology is there. It really is just a matter of going out an building it. This is what I always said: This is why big traditional media companies didn’t built the youtube, google, facebooks, twitters, flickr,… applications in this world. 

This statement gave me a lot of confidence to stronger believe in my ideas and even one day later I am really feeling that this statement will change my future life. It is really interesting that a man – who I value a lot – tells me something I always felt, hardly did and hits right a way to one of my weekest points! 

After the sesion I got my copy of Tim Berners Lee’s book signed and he asked me to send him an email once my site is up. It is really amazing to receive this kind of feedback by such a great person.

That was one of the most inspiring moments in my life! So anyone who wants to join me going geek on the next generation music web app is very welcome to contact me or leave a comment! There really is a lot of stuff in my mind and I have already dreamt a lot and seen what is possible…


Tim Berners Lee signing my Copy of his book at www2012 in Lyon

If you like this post, you might like these related posts:

  1. Keynote on www2012 by Sir Tim Berners Lee disclaimer: this is a very sloppy summary of the keynote...
  2. My List of People who I admire and which I find truly inspiring This is my personal list of people that I admire....


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3 Comments on How Tim Berners Lee told me in front of thousand people: “Go geek and do it”

  1. [...] with the solution. I almost feel the urge to do the same as Joseph Pfeiffer with the cheng lu model. Just go geek and correct [...]

  2. [...] do it or contact us. We are really looking forward to meet some other hackers that just want to go geek and change the world. This entry was posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2013 by [...]

  3. [...] ineroperability, net neutrality and freedom in general but freedom of speech in particular. Also he addressed me directly after asking a question in a Q&A session at a conference. His attitude of saying if you want to change the world you have the tools don’t talk just go [...]

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