Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Kevin Kelly's Scan This Book!

Kevin Kelly's recent article in The New York Times Magazine has generated a lot of attention and controversy.

Based on a few quotes from Kelly's article I read on Lee Goldberg's blog and elsewhere, I wasn't going to read Kelly's article because I was under the impression that it was the usual utopian gas about how digitization and ebooks will transform publishing.

I have now read Kelly's article and I'm glad that I did. It is actually a very reasonable piece.

Goldberg claims that Kelly wants to abolish copyright and make all books available online for free. Not so. Nowhere does Kelly argue for the abolition of copyright. What he does argue for is some attempt to rationalise the concerns of authors and publishers with the reality that digitising content, including text, becomes easier all the time and it is therefore inevitable that more and more will find its way online with or without the permission of publishers and authors.

"But a new regime of digital technology has now disrupted all business models based on mass-produced copies, including individual livelihoods of artists. The contours of the electronic economy are still emerging, but while they do, the wealth derived from the old business model is being spent to try to protect that old model, through legislation and enforcement. Laws based on the mass-produced copy artifact are being taken to the extreme, while desperate measures to outlaw new technologies in the marketplace "for our protection" are introduced in misguided righteousness. (This is to be expected. The fact is, entire industries and the fortunes of those working in them are threatened with demise. Newspapers and magazines, Hollywood, record labels, broadcasters and many hard-working and wonderful creative people in those fields have to change the model of how they earn money. Not all will make it.)"

Remember Hollywood's initial response to Sony's Betamax? They tried to sue it out of existence. It's good that they failed, because revenues from DVDs are now the studios' main source of income.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad to see not everyone takes what Goldberg says as absolute. He is often wrong. Good job!

8:42 AM  

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