Stanford graduate student Gary Lerhaupt has created Prodigem Marketplace. It's basically a Bittorrent non-DRM'ed media marketplace.

Prodigem Marketplace
The Prodigem Marketplace allows Prodigem users to sell their independent media (videos, music, etc) while not concerning themselves with traditional bandwidth costs associated with repeated large data transfers. Content providers (YOU!) simply upload their work, set a price, and Prodigem does the rest. Once customers pay for access to the bit torrent peer-to-peer session for your content, Prodigem grants them access so they can begin their download (no DRM). Prodigem collects this revenue, removes 10% + transaction costs (PayPal) and then sends you a monthly check. Ever considered making a living as a Long Tailor? Check out this example for-pay torrent to see what it looks like.

[...]

Mechanics Of Becoming An "Ecommonist"

The process of becoming a media retailer couldn't be any easier. To accomodate this new method of transfer, we have added a Copyright Plus Prodigem license to the available licensing options. This simple license allows you to retain copyright over your work while making a specific grant of rights to Prodigem and its users. In effect you are saying that it is fine to share your work so long as it's only through the torrent you created, and since access to the torrent is only granted when payment is received, you get exactly what you are looking for.

You are also free to instead license your work under the Creative Commons. Though with a CC license you are technically granting everyone redistribution rights regardless of venue. This is fine by us if it's okay with you, but does mean that people are free to share without payment. Realizing this conundrum, we are busy mulling over something akin to a "Delayed" Creative Commons license, where Prodigem users will be able to stipulate their work as covered under Copyright Plus Prodigem license, and then on some fixed date of their choosing (eg. 1 year, 5 years) it automatically switches over to a CC license of their choosing. It's like peanut butter and chocolate.

via Howard @ Smartmobs

I'm very interested in the economics of the end of the long tail. My theory is that people will pay, even if they are not forced. I think price, the experience and the lack of DRM should have an impact. There is some data from the unencumbered shareware software world, but it will be interesting to see how this fares for media content. I would also be interested to see how artists using Creative Commons fare against artists using the more restricted Copyright Plus Prodigem license. If this is successful, this will be yet another good example of non-infringing use of P2P to highlight the idiocy Hollywood's position on the Grokster case. (Note that NASA has also started using Bittorrent.)

2 Comments

Joi,

do you remember the proposal for extension of CC licensing into commercial territory we discussed last year at miptv in Cannes ? You can find it at http://netnewsgathering.com . It also contains a proposal for extension of RSS able to handle commercial licensing of weblog published content via RSS aggregators. In the meanwhile we also released an open source platform which performs the functions of web-based marketplace for rich media content (but mostly meant for video) which supports, among other things, also bittorrent. It can be downloaded at SourceForge and will reach beta next week.

I wish him well. I've thought about doing something like this for a long time, but my own personal economics always got in the way. I will definitely buy from this site.

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Howard Rheingold, Smart Mobs:Success will depend on achieving a critical mass of culture creators and paying culture consumers -- but if that happens, Lerhaupt might well have come up with a viable answer to the DRM wars. Joi Ito, Joi... Read More

I'm giving up on my latest idea. This is not because I'm tired of working on it and am just petering out, but because I no longer have anything to offer that others are not already offering. What I wanted... Read More

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