February 4, 2005 | By Fred von Lohmann

Mark Cuban Gets It

If there is one person who understands what the "content" business is going to look like in the 21st century, it is Mark Cuban. First, he built a billion dollar business in webcasting at Broadcast.com, long before media moguls were paying attention to "Internet radio." Today, at HDNet, he's the biggest producer of high-definition all-digital television content in the world, having lapped the media moguls yet again.

So when Mark says beating back the media giants in MGM v. Grokster is critical for the future of innovation and economic growth, we should all be listening:

In the MGM v. Grokster case, the fewer than 50 companies who control less than 1 percent of all digital information are trying to take control of innovation in the technology industry and pry it away from the rest of us. Everything our imagination creates and touches that can be made digital is at risk if Grokster loses.

What innovations will be condemned by law before they have a chance to come to market, because they could have an impact on Hollywood and the music industry? We have no idea, and that is a very scary prospect.

Which brings me back to 1980.

The last 25 years have seen unimaginable increases in productivity, creativity, economic development and American pride because amazing people have been able to take amazing ideas and develop them without fear. That fearlessness ends if Grokster loses and the content industry is able is to take on the role of technology gatekeeper. There will be a time, as there was in 1980, when we need a spark, when we hope that something new helps us escape from something old. Let's not let the content industry steal that opportunity out from underneath us.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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