Thursday, July 10, 2008

Check Back In Thirty Years

I found a comical yet ominous quote the other day: "...the idea that 95% of content on the net is free is not sustainable. We don't believe that society can allow the free consumption of content to persist," [Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, the body which represents the UK recording industry] said.

This sweeping statement poses an incredible array of questions. Is "free consumption of content" really a threat to civil society? Is 95% of the content on the net even free? It doesn't seem like it to me, given all the damn advertisements I have to endure. And who exactly does he mean by "society"? And what the hell does he mean by "sustainable"? Is content a non-renewable resource, like fossil fuel?

Clearly, people have grown accustomed to having unfettered access to content without being charged. In that sense, society seems to prefer free content. So how does he propose to put the genie back into the bottle? Through lawsuits? That might work for a while. But hindsight shows that shutting down Napster has had little effect on the demand for and availability of free content.

So what does all this mean? Time will tell.


J G-W said...


The Internet has always been an offense and a stumbling block to those who want to profit from the sale of information, as well as those who benefit from restricting access to information.

But the Internet genie is just like the printing press genie... Once you have a simple, democratic, accessible information medium, it can't be stopped. He might as well try to stop a Rocky Mountain avalanche by shouting at it.

Knight of Nothing said...

Self-publishing has never been easier or cheaper. So in that sense, maybe the internet will live up to its potential to be a "simple, democratic, accessible information medium."

Then again, and it's easy to forget now, but radio and television were also hailed to be such technological equalizers. So we can only wait and see and keep using the medium in the way we want it to be used.

Anonymous said...

Um, just had to thow my cynical two cents in here...the transmission is not beamed into our tinfoil hats.

A little OT but interesting...

Knight of Nothing said...

Thank you for the links, mystery person!

I have to admit I need to understand the technology better. What difference does it make to Comcast if you have your cable TV on 24x7 or browse you tube all day? I didn't think bandwidth was an issue anymore.

Maybe the pipes that connect the hosting sites to the backbone still lack bandwidth..? Maybe DSL customers are taxing the phone lines? GeistX... can you answer this??

Anonymous said...