Random Round Up

Cory on why, in the age of digital books, you may not own your library.

It’s funny that in the name of protecting “intellectual property,” big media companies are willing to do such violence to the idea of real property — arguing that since everything we own, from our t-shirts to our cars to our ebooks, embody someone’s copyright, patent and trademark, that we’re basically just tenant farmers, living on the land of our gracious masters who’ve seen fit to give us a lease on our homes.

Andrew on why Amazon’s latest publisher push may be a bad thing. And Tim on the same as well.

It is a free-market economy, and competition is the name of the game. But as Amazon’s market power increases, it needs to be mindful of whether its moves, even those that may be good for the company in the short term, are ultimately destructive of the ecosystem on which they depend. I believe that they are heading in that direction, and if they succeed with some of their initiatives, they will wake up one day to discover that they’ve sown the seeds of their own destruction, just as Microsoft did in the 1990s.

Fawkes commenting on what may be the new news process ecosystem.
Shyam on the future of the newspaper and media in India.

That is a tough one to answer and the answer it itself probably lies in the fact that kids who will be born 10 years from now won’t have a primary instinct to write on or read anything from a piece of paper. Their primary instincts would be driven towards handheld devices or to a keyboard on a computing device. The current usage of print media is sustained by generations who have the primary instinct to write on and read off a paper. Maybe, some twenty or thirty years from now, that generation won’t be the ones who hold the purse strings in terms of spending. From that point of view, the future is very bleak for print media.

That said, print also has been one of the oldest forms that have been around. It has survived radio and television till date and I don’t see why it would not survive the onslaught of the internet. The internet is more of a tectonic change that has consequences much beyond the little sphere of media, so it would be unnatural to assume that print would be left untouched by it. I think what will save print would eventually be technology. It may well not survive as the print we know of now — of being printed on deadwood — and probably move into a form that is only similar in shape, but in the end it may just surprise us all by surviving and doing well 40 years from now.

Cory, again, on the dilemma that piracy presents and a surprising answer.

Matt’s spiel is great, and for the first 30-or-so minutes, I found myself just nodding along as he expressed — eloquently and delightfully — things I’d heard others like Lessig, Barlow (and me!) say. But then he got to his kicker, and I sat up, electrified: “The best way to profit from pirates is to copy them.”

A video on piracy and how it is good, again. And via a comment on Reddit, a summation:

Bittorrent (and the nature of digital media) means that you can’t put the worms back in the can. What’s more, advertising space in commercial breaks costs so much money that you can actually buy a whole episode from the producer and distribute it (via internet or even by mailing a DVD to everyone) for less money than paying for the advertising. You could then also put a “bug” (like the channel marker in the top-left or top-right) for your brand all the way through the episode. Broadcast media will live on (at least for the time being) for live events and sports.

Masnick on why free content does not mean worthless content.

Content may be becoming free, but that’s opening up tremendous value (which drives more content creations) and that content is coming from a much longer tail of diverse and varied content producers. It may be troublesome for the big entertainment infrastructure he’s used to dealing with, but it’s hardly bad for the real content industry.

And Masnick, again, on why the Internet, as a platform, matters as it enables innovation.

Of course it’ll lead to a ton of crap, but it’ll also lead to a ton of really interesting, fascinating and useful things that’ll rise up out of that crap. It’ll also lead to a lot of innovation and, potentially, totally unexpected and different ways to use the internet. And that should be exciting.


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