This month, the United Kingdom Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform jointly released a very interesting report for those of us interested in copyright reform. Titled Digital Britain: Interim Report, it, among other things, says (sec. 3.2):
There is a clear and unambiguous distinction between the legal and illegal sharing of content which we must urgently address. But, we need to do so in a way that recognises that when there is very widespread behaviour and social acceptability of such behaviour that is at odds with the rules, then the rules, the business models that the rules have underpinned and the behaviour itself may all need to change.
The report goes on to say that DRM will have a role of play as part of this new copyright regime when it is "properly applied […] (i.e. where it allows users to access content on any device that they own, rather than being device limited […])." Nevertheless, it is refreshing to see a government report that realises that "the rules" (i.e. copyright law) is no so much of touch with reality that change is needed.
I would recommend this highly innovative theoretical concepts explained here: James Love: Knowledge as a Public Good – Two mechanisms.
It is exciting to observe that top economists like Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jeffrey Sachs has written and proposed this concepts for a long time. I hope that these theoretical achievement combined with Obamas political power will accomplish something.