4 minute read

You normally don't expect such staid bodies as the OECD to go and start talking about Web 2.0 and user-created content (or "UCC" in their terminology), but then they go and create a huge report doing just that (Via DG):

This study describes the rapid growth of UCC and its increasing role in worldwide communication, and draws out implications for policy. Questions addressed include: What is user-created content? What are its key drivers, its scope and different forms? What are the new value chains and business models? What are the extent and form of social, cultural and economic opportunities and impacts? What are the associated challenges? Is there a government role, and what form could it take?

While it's not as groundbreaking or waxing-visionary as Benkler in Wealth of Networks, it is interesting to see how OECD is perceiving peer production:

User-created content is already an important economic phenomenon despite it originally being largely non-commercial. The spread of UCC and the amount of attention devoted to it by users appears to be a significant disruptive force for how content is created and consumed and for traditional content suppliers. This disruption creates both opportunities and challenges for established market participants and their strategies.

The OECD as one should expect ties it back to innovation policies, and doesn't shy away from talking about copyright and fair use:

The rapid rise of UCC is raising new questions for users, business and policymakers. Digital content policy issues are grouped under six headings: i) enhancing R&D, innovation and technology; ii) developing a competitive, non-discriminatory policy framework; iii) enhancing the infrastructure; iv) shaping business and regulatory environments; v) governments as producers and users of content and vi) better measurement.

[...]In the regulatory environment important questions relate to intellectual property rights and UCC: how to define “fair use� and other copyright exceptions, what are the effects of copyright on new sources of creativity, and how does IPR shape the coexistence of market and non-market creation and distribution of content. In addition, there are questions concerning the copyright liability of UCC platforms hosting potentially unauthorised content, and the impacts of digital rights management.

Of particular interest, the OECD seems to support a strong fair use doctrine; "For example, copyright issues arise when users post unaltered third party content on UCC platforms without authorisation" (emphasis mine) -- meaning that altered content; content with value-added creativity by the users, mashups, and the like, would not be copyright issues in this context. Score one for the OECD!