MGM: Jeff Bezos, Amazon and Intellectual Property

Amazon has just bought MGM for $8.45bn. Chief executive Jeff Bezos sums up the deal in two sentences: “MGM has a vast, deep catalogue of much beloved intellectual property. We can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st century.” He came in for a lot of flak – here is a typical example – for supposedly “reducing” the MGM archive to the level of “intellectual property”. The truth is that describing MGM as intellectual property is elevating rather than demeaning. The concept of IP has a succinct and compelling ring that speaks in equal measure of commercial and aesthetic value. This is a good thing, worth more than acres of verbiage about “heritage”. Let’s hope that Amazon will choose the right people to “reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st century”. The wrong choice could result in that awful, irreversible and sadly familiar cultural vandalism one often sees in the corporate jungle.

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