Zeropaid Interview: Mark Cuban, Tech Entrepreneur and Owner of the Dallas Mavericks

As we have heard in the past few weeks Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has agreed to finance the Grokster case in defense from the entertainment industry. This will be a case that could influence copyright and tech legislation outside U.S borders.

Zeropaid News caught up with Mark and had the fortune to ask him some questions about P2P and the technology world. From broadcasting and technology to sports, Mark has always proven to be an avid player of corporate culture bringing Pride back to the Dallas Mavericks and pursuing new Technological innovations including his previous venture in and his current company HDnet, along with many other ventures

Let’s Get Started!

ZP: It is said your love of business started when you were young
Selling Garbage bags when you were a kid and even giving Disco lessons to
get through college.

Give us some insights on your inspirations and why you have always been an entrepreneur at heart.

Mark: I really don’t know. I just have always had that drive and motivation. I
couldn’t explain it to you

ZP: You have always been into technology, when you had started up
MicroSolutions in the early 80’s you had no formal computer training.

Did you find in these early days you were underestimated by your peers
in the business, what helped you overcome them?

Mark: Of course I was underestimated. I was young, and this was a new industry. I
just used it to my advantage. I had more energy and I didn’t have any
preconceived notions on how things should be. I just tried to learn the
technology better than anyone else and find the best ways to help my

ZP: When you started AudioNet (now known as you had a vision that the internet could change radio.
Net casting though has been relatively silent in terms of mass appeal and now Xm Radio is being pitched as the new radio

Do you believe that the potential of internet as a new broadcasting format has been underutilized?

Mark: No. the problem wasn’t the technology or applications. The problem has been
the arcane laws. When the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was passed in
1998, I knew that internet radio was in trouble. Prior to its passing, I
used to talk about how brutal the impact on the net would be if it passed,
but no one listened

ZP: The next communication wars are already starting, telecom is starting to offer cable
and cable is starting to offer telecom, this has lead to traditional players on both sides calling foul.

Cable has a big advantage in the way it is not regulated the same as traditional telecom.

Do you believe that regulations covering phone companies should be extended to cover Cable companies
now that they are offering the same services.

Mark: No, I think they both should be deregulated

ZP: When do you see the end of the definitions of cable and phone?
As both sides invest in fiber optic networks the differences between
cable and phone companies will blur putting them more or less on the same level.

Do you see this as an advantage to the communication monopolies or a

Mark: Bits are bits. They don’t care if they are TV or phone calls or music or
X-rays or movies or anything for that matter. The companies that best market
and provide their customers value will win. How long that takes , I’m not
sure because both sides will spend a lot of money to protect their legacy

ZP: You have recently announced you are financing Groksters Defense,
you have said you believe innovation could be stifled if the entertainment industry gets its way.

Are you defending the uses of P2P be it legit or not or are you just
concerned the impact the rulings on this will seriously restrict the
technology world?

Mark: There are already laws on the books to deal with people who steal. The RIAA
hasn’t been shy about suing people for stealing music. There are laws on the
books for illegal copying and for illegal duplication. We don’t need any
laws that have the courts evaluating business models to determine whether
they impact the music business or not. I think that giving the music
industry veto power over technological innovation will do nothing to stop
piracy, but will do everything to stop innovation.

The last thing we need is high school or college kids having to get fairness
opinions before they come up with new ideas for their classes or for
entrepreneurs to do the same before they can start a business.

This issue is basically entrepreneurial freedom of speech

ZP: You currently run HDNet, How do you feel knowing most of the High
Definition Content you corporation provides is being made available
on the network you are funding the defense for?

Mark: Couldn’t care less. I also own movies like Kingpin, Dear God, Private Parts
and others that are out there as well. DVD sales are booming. I don’t think
having VHS or DVD quality at half screen size is really an inhibitor to
sales. Even as broadband gets faster and more PCs are servers connected to
TVs, the movie business has been smart about offering movies at a price the
customer finds value in.

You can buy a movie that cost more than 100mm to make and market in stores
for 8 dollars. The price of a movie drops over time. The value in having the
DVD and not having to download and worry about viruses and breaking the law
is easily worth it to the consumer.

You can’t say that about music. The music industry hasn’t created value based
on pricing.

ZP: Have you ever used any P2P programs?

Mark: Yep. I download things to sample. I will either buy the CD or erase the
song. I also have no problem downloading songs of CDs I already own. I won’t
just download a song and keep it if I haven’t paid for it somehow.

ZP: Your thoughts on D.R.M, consumers hate it. Companies love it.
Do you believe consumers have the right to do what they wish with
products they have legally purchased?

Mark: They can do whatever they please with it. We don’t put DRM on any HDNet
content at all. It’s a waste of time and money. The money spent on DRM and
trying to protect and prosecute could possibly be more than what’s
legitimately lost in sales to piracy (a download isn’t the same as a lost
sale. That person may not have had the money or intent to buy)

ZP: Last Question, while this court case will be important there are
other threats to innovation and technology with bills like the dead
“induce” act as introduced by Senator Hatch last year. Did you happen
to lobby against this bill at the time and do you think a bill like
that would ever come to pass in light of the resistance that bill
received from the tech sector?

Mark: I didn’t lobby against the Induce bill, which I call the Orrin Hatch needs
money bill. I will lobby against it if it is induced again. Orrin Hatch is
the same idiot that said it would be OK to destroy consumer’s hard drives if
they downloaded music.

I wish Utah voters would destroy Orrin Hatch’s career*

Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the N.B.A
and is head of
HDnet a provider of a wide range of High Definition video content from movies to Television.

Mark also keeps a Blog which can be found Here

Join me in thanking Mark for his time!

Interviewer: Bryan M. (Moneoa)
~Lead Zeropaid News Admin