Earlier this month, Cary Sherman, the RIAA’s CEO, wrote a controversial op-ed in which he raised questions about the impact of Google and Wikipedia on America’s “democratic process”. So when I Skyped with Sherman earlier this week, I leveraged social media’s democratic process to ask the RIAA CEO some direct questions from my Twitter community about piracy, the music industry and American democracy itself.
@nicholeferraro asked Sherman a question about that NYTimes op-ed. @petergnz, meanwhile, wanted Sherman to discuss the economic merits (if indeed there are any) of Kim Dotcom’s Megabox concept. @flemingsean asked Sherman to compare the economic struggle of the online newspaper business with that of music industry. And @ahynes1 asked the all-important multi-billion dollar question of how can protect the IP rights of creators without damaging overall Internet innovation.
Perhaps the most newsworthy aspect of Sherman’s responses lay in his comments about YouTube. A couple of years ago, it would have been hard to imagine the CEO of the RIAA saying a good word about Google’s video network. But Sherman, to his credit, acknowledged that YouTube -in contrast with really really dodgy networks like Megaupload – now deserves “kudos” to seeking more protection for intellectual property. So kudos to Sherman on this one. If the RIAA and YouTube can learn to work together, then who is to say that the technology and entertainment industries can’t together figure out a way to solve the multi-billion dollar problem of piracy without compromising innovation on the Internet.
This is the final part of a two part interview with Sherman. Yesterday, he told me why the RIAA needs to give consumers what they want.