Sustainability in the Context of Digital Infrastructure
// An Exclusive Excerpt from the TGS 2012 Final Report, prepared by The Value Web / Feb 28, 2012

Many believe the world needs a new digital infrastructure for the management of rights and attribution.

It’s about credit, but it’s also about compensation, and addressing the 800 pound gorilla in the room- that existing revenue flows are not making their way back to the artists, because of incomplete information. This creates a significant disincentive to solve the problem of insufficient data - a source of considerable frustration and discussion among the delegates.

A metadata coordination body

With so many parallel and competing efforts in process to push standards forward in metadata, there was a clear need stated for a coordinating body to connect the efforts and ensure interoperability and collaboration where possible. Various groups identified the leadership gap, and the need for a neutral organization to step in to fill that void in order to ensure coordinated progress.

Open Registry

Some argued for the creation of an open registry for rights and attribution, turning to a market model based on the example of internet domain registrars, which would force rights holders to participate in order to avoid mis-attribution. Others argued that this could be a dangerous and irresponsible invitation to fraudulent and malicious registration much like the cyber-squatting that has plagued domain registries.

Metadata Omnivores

From the perspective of service providers, the lack of comprehensive metadata in a central registry is not perceived as a problem, but is simply a condition among many others which has forced them to apply other approaches to managing the complexity of identification.

One group explored user-generated “swarms” of data, which would gather around files, be it behavioral or contextual, which through time would be of sufficient density to allow for robust analytics. Mapping the “lifecycle” of a file, they discussed how this spontaneous metadata could be used to target advertising, aid discovery and otherwise provide avenues for the monetization of a piece of content. By building intelligence into platforms, they could make up for the lack of official metadata by being “metadata omnivores”.

User driven, user-centric models

Related to the generative approach to metadata, above is the stream of behavioral data which results from users “doing what they do” - an entire stream of data that is currently captured by platforms and service providers as a mode of tailoring and monetizing their interactions with users.

This is just an excerpt from the full 2012 report. Each attendee at all of our transmitNOW events receives a comprehensive report after each event.

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