The conference kicked off with John Perry Barlow [video] who is one of the lyricists for the Grateful Dead. I have actually been to two Grateful Dead concerts in California when I was at USC for a year. For those people unfamiliar with what Dead concerts were like, I can definitely say that it was like being in another country.
One of the outstanding features of the subculture revolved around cassette tapes. At the time, recording was expensive and complex but many people managed to get good enough copies of the concerts and then pass them around. This lead to people having collections of every live concert the Dead ever did. People would also of course make mixed tapes and share tapes with songs performed "better" or differently than others, etc. I remember seeing some collections of tapes in the hundreds, each with carefully hand drawn psychedelic play lists and personalized graphic art fold-outs.
Later, upon one of my first impressions of visiting archive.org, I remember thinking it was interesting that all of the Grateful Dead music was there and available for free.
As it turns out, allowing the fans to make and share tapes (they discouraged selling the tapes but allowed them to record shows and pass around free copies) and allowing the music to exist on Archive.org, has not hurt them.
Case in point: The Dead allowed all of their fans to share their music for free yet became one of the most popular and profitable touring bands ever. As for album sales and licensing? Barlow said this year he received his largest royalty check ever.
Otherwise, with regards to New Media, he has amazing foresight.
Cory Doctorow went on to give a presentation on copyrights which was great to hear. Unlike the panel I was on which didn't really get in depth with anything, he spoke in great depth about copyrights. I say great depth - for 45 minutes, he really covered a lot of the history and thinking behind the entire notion of copyrights in such a literary way that it was truly jam packed. It reminded me a bit of a live poetry jam session where there is a real sense of rhythm and flow to the narrative. Adding a visual element to the presentation would be stellar. I could imagine 100s of slides to what he was saying.
I also got to hang with a guy who I can truly say is a great bud, Jeff from Tikibar. Everything that comes out of the guys mouth is an amazingly creative scene. It was also great to meet Joanah and many others with really great work I'm familiar with.