Friday, September 30, 2005

The Intellectually Right May Still Be Luddites

Perhaps I disclose an editorial preference with this image from Picture Book, an "online resource for children's illustrators, publishers, and book lovers", a motto nervy enough to imply the dead-tree and digital spheres aren't inherently oppositional.

Here's a quickie round-up having to do with that anxiety-ridden first date between established content and new disseminating technology. Of course, a couple of these stories represent the hate-at-first sight phenomenon, but new technological capacities keep challenging how people think about the content accessed by them.

Google's Print Initiative has been scanning books into its databases to create an enormous online library. The Authors Guild's agin' it, saying authors won't be properly compensated and copyrights will be violated. Google disagrees. Emmett Tyrell wonders how we'll know if the content is intact, and the Grumpy Old Bookman thinks that we ought to let development flow and allow new markets to emerge.

I hope the print media is smarter than the record companies that fought the download trend for at least a decade, hauled 13-year olds into court, and assisted crippling their industry further while still managing at least to satisfyingly bilk the musical artists of their share, you'll be pleased to know. It seemed impossible for them to understand their young customers might like new ways of experiencing and receiving musical content, and the ones that could provide would make profits- hello iTunes.

I hope writers prove smarter, and push for more than protections from progress, and instead advance new thinking about how to be appropriately compensated in the digital realm. The key is solid, comprehensive access as much as trustworthy content, and that's the only hint I'll give.

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