eBusiness Models for Sharing Content

Roger Clarke **

Invited Presentation to the conference on 'Unlocking I.P.: New models for sharing and trading intellectual property', U.N.S.W. Sydney, 18-19 November 2004

Version of 15 November 2004

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2004

Available under an AEShareNet Free
for Education licence

This document is at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/BMUIP0411.html

The slides to accompany the presentation are at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/BMUIP0411.ppt


Good ideas need good business models if they are to be successfully implemented. This workshop comprises a lead presentation, followed by interaction between the presenter and moderator, and an open forum. It draws on the expertise and experience of two leading eBusiness practitioners, Roger Clarke, and David Jonas.

The presentation commences by reviewing how we got here. The digital explosion of the 1990s means that most materials are now infinitely capable of replication, transmission and manipulation. A byproduct of digitisation was that consumers, who used to buy goods, suddenly needed copyright licences, and discovered to their surprise that the law precluded them from doing things with their digital copies that they were used to doing with their physical copies.

But with digitisation came changes in culture that bring old-world copyright ideas into serious question. Cyberculture values the application of information infrastructure to enable free information flow. Cyberculture also values appropriation of information, and its adaptation to suit new needs and interests. Conversely, it applauds the removal of barriers to information flow, the breaking down of control over information flow, and the denial of the use of monopoly powers to generate super-profits.

For-profit publishers do many things, and it's important to understand their contributions before leaping to the conclusion that they should be disestablished, and markets for information disintermediated. The presentation will identify the value-adds that publishers used to offer, and examine the extent to which they still do.

Key aspects of the open content phenomenon are then considered, highlighting the centrality of collaboration, and liberal copyright licence terms. The question has to be confronted, however, as to how the collaborators are to keep themselves fed.

The concept of a 'business model' is introduced, and the working definition adopted that it is an answer to the question 'Who Pays? For What? To Whom? And Why?'. A framework is provided for examining eBusiness models.

Building on this base, several avenues are investigated for supporting the sharing of copyright objects. One strand of discussion depends upon a deeper understanding of the nature of reciprocity in markets. Another considers the role of reputation, and hence of revenue flows from goods and services complementary to the production of copyright objects. The 'fairy godmother' alternative is also examined, and subsidy, cross-subsidy and portfolio management notions are compared and contrasted.

The discussions led by the moderator and the audience are intended to assist delegates to apply the concepts, in order to discover and invent eBusiness models appropriate to their own contexts.


'A Backgrounder on Copyright', in Clarke (1999a)

Clarke R. (1997) 'Electronic Publishing: A Specialised Form of Electronic Commerce' Proc. 10th Int'l Electronic Commerce Conf., Bled, Slovenia, June 1997, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/Bled97.html

Clarke R. (1998) 'Key Issues in Electronic Commerce and Electronic Publishing' Proc. Information Online and On Disc 99, Sydney, 19 - 21 January 1999, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/Issues98.html

Clarke R. (1999a) 'Electronic Trading in Copyright Objects and Its Implications for Universities' Proc. Austral. EDUCAUSE'99 Conf., Sydney, 18-21 April 1999, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/ETCU.html

Clarke R. (1999b) '"Information Wants to be Free"' Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, August 1999, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/II/IWtbF.html

Clarke R. (1999c) 'Freedom of Information? The Internet as Harbinger of the New Dark Ages' First Monday 4, 11 (November 1999), at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/II/DarkAges.html

Clarke R. & Nees S. (2000) 'Technological Protections for Digital Copyright Objects' Proc. 8th Euro. Conf. Infor. Sys. (ECIS'2000), July 2000, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/II/TPDCO.html

Clarke R. (2003a) 'Open Source Licensing' Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, June 2003, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/OSLic.html

Clarke R. (2003b) 'Copyright: The Spectrum of Content Licensing' Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, June 2003, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/CCLic.html

Clarke R. (2003c) 'To Share and To Profit' Presentation at a Debate on 'To Share or Not to Share', a plenary session of the Queensland TAFE `Shooting the Tube' Conference, Griffith Uni., 4 July 2003, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/TAFECD030704.html

Clarke R. (2004a) 'Open Source Software and Open Content As Models for eBusiness' Proc. 17th Int'l eCommerce Conf., Bled, Slovenia, 21-23 June 2004, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/Bled04.html

Clarke R. (2004b) 'eBusiness Models for Content: The Closed v. The Open Approaches' Expert Address to the ECOM-ICOM Programme of the University of Hong Kong, 9 September 2004, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/eBusContent.html

Clarke R. (2004c) 'Open Content Licensing for Research Paper (Pr)ePrints' Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, September 2004, at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/EC/OCLRPP0409.html

Author Affiliations

Roger Clarke is a consultant in strategic and policy aspects of eBusiness, information infrastructure, and dataveillance and privacy. He operates through his own company, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, based in Canberra. He is also Chair of AEShareNet Limited, the Ministerial company that is a sponsor of the 'Unlocking I.P.' conference.

He is also a Visiting Professor in the Baker & McKenzie Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre at the University of N.S.W., a Visiting Professor in the E-Commerce Programme at the University of Hong Kong, and a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University.

David Jonas

David Jonas, who is moderating this session, is a consultant and journalist specialising in the cross-over area between business and technology. David has been involved, for over 20 years, in e-business projects and related initiatives in Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe including seven years as CTO/CIO of a large multinational group and 9 years as Founder/CEO of ETC Electronic Trading Concepts. David has acted as project director on many large-scale cross-sectoral ecommerce projects for State, Commonwealth and Local governments, as well as large industry sectors.David developed some of the earliest university courseware in the world in the area of ecommerce for Deakin and Monash Universities, and is a frequent lecturer and conference speaker.Today, David's consulting is done under the banner of Convergence e-Business Solutions Pty Limited, an information economy advisory firm, of which he is a principal and director. He is also a Director of AEShareNet Limited, the Ministerial company that is a sponsor of the 'Unlocking I.P.' conference.


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Created: 15 November 2004

Last Amended: 15 November 2004

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