Page 95

lishers, while also promising 40 to 50 percent royalty rates and author retention of copyright, practices far from common in the print publishing business.31

Movies in digital form are currently saved from widespread illegal copying because of their large size, but this barrier is likely to be overcome before too long. A number of sites have begun already to sell full-length movies in digital form,32 but at upwards of 200 megabytes for a (compressed) movie, and 5 megabytes for even a trailer, the space requirements and download times are still quite substantial. Others are exploring the possibility of Internet distribution of movies.33 Digital movie piracy has also appeared; in 1999 pirated copies of "The Blair Witch Project," "The Matrix," and ''American Pie" were all available online. These copies are relatively low-quality, still sizable to download and store, and not easy to find (they are generally traded in low-profile news groups and chat rooms). But the struggle over digital movies has clearly arrived and will grow worse as storage capacity and transmission speeds increase.

The second lesson is that struggles over protecting intellectual property take many forms and reach into a variety of areas, including battles over technology, standards, industry structure, and business models. Keeping this in mind often makes it easier to decode the disparate agendas and strategies of the many players engaged in the struggle.

The third lesson is that among the various battles, the struggle over standards is often the most intense as it typically has the most far-reaching effects, with consequences for authors, publishers, and consumers alike, as well as the shape and character of the industry.

31See, for example, Fatbrain.com's e-matter, online at <http://www.fatbrain.com/ematter/home.html>for an example of these rates, effective in September 1999. For background on the struggle over electronic rights to textual works, see Zeitchik (1999).

32For example, see Sightsound at <http://www.sightsound.com>.

33For example, Metafilmics, an established filmmaker that won an Academy Award for best visual effects in 1998, announced it is making "The Quantum Project" specifically for initial Internet distribution (Pollack, 1999).



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement