The digital revolution is polarising jobs: those that can be automated, and those that can’t. In the media world, there’s pressure to put more rights licensing through software. In a small way, this has been happening for years – for instance, with photocopy licences. You can put in the number of copies you want to make onto a form on a website, pay the money, and photocopy away.
As formats and platforms proliferate, publishers and producers worry about escalating costs of clearing permissions. The Bill going through parliament right now has involved intense discussions of whether more automatic licences can be enabled –or even forced on writers.
In a nutshell, a writer should be able to decide whether to automate their licences, or whether all, or some, of their work should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
So how much can be done by clever software? I’m glad to say writers and agents don’t look to be replaced any time soon. According to a recent article in Forbes
the fastest growing job sectors in the States are the ones where human qualities are paramount.
One of my big jobs this week has been to tailor a big deal to the writer’s likely cash flow over the next 5 or 6 years, and where his creativity is probably going to take him. I phoned Emma Adams to say ‘break a leg’ for the premiere of her play tonight, and talked about how the stuff in your head is never as good as when you get it out into the world. I’ve just called my favourite Hollywood agent to talk about his worries about a mutual client. So I’m pleased to say that if you call 020 3214 8287, you won’t be given a series of options, leading to another series of options. You’ll get me on the phone.