Another example of the impossibility of going legit

March 6, 2009

At AngelConf today I sat next to a man had founded (and was apparently failing) at a business that taught how to play the guitar using super detailed 3d motion capture of the specific hand motions.  He was able to get all the incredibly advanced technology — 40 16 Megapixel cameras filming at 360 frames per second — no sweat.  What was the problem?

Licensing.

He did manage to get sync licenses so he could show his 3d models in sync with the music.  But he couldn’t get equivalent rights for the tablature.  The result?  After all this work he couldn’t show the fingering position notation in sync with the 3d models and audio.

Now I’m sure someone will say “why didn’t he do X or Y or Z?”  And I have no idea.  He was apparently smart enough to get the audio and sync licenses; I don’t know why he couldn’t get tablature licenses.

But for some reason he didn’t or couldn’t and ultimately that’s all that matters.  Another law-abiding entrepreneur bites the dust.

What I found especially interesting was how he brought up the topic entirely unprompted; I was pitching expense reports when he suddenly delves into a tirade against music licensing.  Little did he know he had such an eager audience!

-david

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