Lemley gives example after example of this trend. Broadcasters opposed those rogue cable operators when they first appeared; now they demand carriage. The VCR, opposed as a “Boston strangler” of the movie industry, became a huge cash cow, one milked for decades by that same industry. Radio’s free broadcasts would destroy recorded gramophone music; except that the radio actually became one of recorded music’s most important publicity machines.
Lemley isn’t trying to sell anyone false comfort. Things might not be all right for many established businesses. But creativity carries on.
The content industry “has a Chicken Little problem,” he says. “It may, in fact, be the case that the sky is falling. But, if you claim that the sky is falling whenever a new technology threatens an existing business model, the rest of the world can be forgiven for not believeing you when you claim that this time around it’s going to be different than all of the other times. Now, let’s be clear, each one of these technologies changed the business model of the industry. They caused certain revenue streams to decline. But they also opened up new ones.”
The whole Ars article is great, and it plays into my personal Munroe rule, which is any presentation of that includes an xkcd comic is a winner.