2008: Looking Ahead

Considering that my predictions for 2007 fell somewhere between “mixed” and “unmitigated disaster” I am almost loathe to try again. However, in the spirit of the season, I almost can not control myself.

So, with that in mind, I’m taking a look at the year ahead with seven new predictions about what is in store for us in 2008 when it comes to content theft and copyright issues.

Hopefully these predictions will strike a good balance between the dead obvious and the completely insane as I try to figure out what is coming up in this clearly unpredictable field.

Spinning Spam Increases

I made this prediction a few days ago on the Blog Herald but it is worth repeating here.

Spammers are facing increased competition for search engine results from both legitimate sites and other spammers. Couple that with duplicate content penalties, copyright issues and smarter search engines, and innovation is essential for their survival.

One of the forms that innovation will likely take is the form of spinning content, through a combination of synonymizing and translating. This type of content theft is harder to detect and will require new techniques to detect and stop.

Expect more on this here in the coming weeks.

New Technologies Change the Game

Another repeat from the aforementioned Blog Herald article, but yet another important one. Companies, such as Attributor, are poised to really change the game by providing powerful, easy to use tools that can not only improves the effectiveness of content theft fighting, but makes it accessible to a broader audience.

However, even if Attributor doesn’t work out, other companies, some of whom are stealth, will likely be coming onto the scene this year and could have similar results.

In short, this is going to be the year in which companies realize the potential market in helping bloggers protect their content and start to exploit it.

False DMCA Notices

Hopefully I am allowed to repeat a prediction from last year as this one is almost a given. With thousands and thousands of DMCA notices being hurled each day, it is a certainty that some will be off target.

Expect several more DMCA notice controversies over the next year, the perfect storm of rabid copyright holders, remix culture and lawsuit-frightened hosts is just too much to ignore.

RIAA Loses Traction

Though 2007 was a bad year for both the RIAA and the music industry, 2008 will likely be even worse. This may well be the year that the record industry starts to distance itself from its boogeyman and the RIAA will start to loose support even among its members.

Some of this has already happened with EMI planning on slashing funding, but with the record labels turning against DRM, I doubt they will be the only ones.

No matter the wins or losses they receive in the courtrooms, expect the RIAA to leave 2008 even weaker than it went in.

Perez Hilton Loses

Though I honestly didn’t expect these lawsuits to reach 2008 but, since they have, it seems likely that they will come to some kind of a conclusion this year. If they do, expect Perez Hilton to suffer a few grave setbacks.

Granted, the case will probably not be over in its entirety in the next 365 days, appeals and so forth can take many years, but the writing should be on the wall for Hilton well before the ball drops on 2008.

Anything else would be the product of either a stunning upset, or an unbearable delay.

Old Media Joins the Fun

Though the record and movie studios have been fighting to protect their content on the Web for years now, old media, namely magazines and newspapers, have not been extremely active in this field.

Expect that to change in the coming year but, unlike RIAA, expect them to better understand how to leverage the Web. I suspect that their delay in entering the fray has taught them a great deal and, looking at the New York Times shift away from paid content, it seems likely that newspapers “get it” at least a little bit more.

Perhaps this is a case of wishful thinking, but it isn’t without at least some grounding in reality.

Image Search Grows Up

Image search, especially when dealing with content theft, is an ineffective black art. I am hoping, perhaps against my better judgment, that 2008 will be the year that image search grows up and we can actually detect duplicate images on the Web even if the file has been renamed, has had the EXIF data changed or has been altered.

This is easily my farthest step out on the limb as I have little reason to believe this, but the market here is just too big to ignore and. with more and more photography winding up on the Web and so much content theft/plagiarism in this area, image protection is easily the next big market for protection.

That is, if it isn’t already the current big market.

Conclusions

As far as copyright issues go, 2007 was a wild year and 2008 is poised to be even more crazy.

However, no matter what happens in 2008, or how wrong these predictions turn out, stay tuned to this site as I will do my best to keep you up to date on what is going on and, hopefully, share some useful information along the way.

Thank you all for making 2007 such a great year for Plagiarism Today and I am looking forward to a very exciting 2008.

Disclosure: I am a consultant for Attributor.

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