Copyright, Art & Books

Read this article by Cory Doctorow on Salon for a fresh take on where today’s creators are and where they’re going in the new digital economy. I hadn’t heard of this:

Do you remember when the Authors Guild sued Google over Google Book Search, which is basically the right to make an index of stuff in books? They said to Google, “If you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it on our terms, and you’re going to have to give us a whole $70 million. And we want to establish that we’re not saying that it’s legal to do this for anybody. You have to come negotiate with us first, and next time the price might be higher!”

Google said, “$70 million? Let’s shake the sofa and find some change for you.” Meanwhile, you are guaranteeing that nobody else in the future history of the world will be able to afford to index books, which is one of the ways people find and buy books. Now Google owns that forever, for a mere $70 million! Nice work, Authors Guild. You’ve just made us all sharecroppers in Google’s fields for the rest of eternity.

Good News for Journalism

And good news for a site I used to love, Salon. They’re bucking the journalist = aggregator trend and publishing less stories but with more original content. As the article says, this just feels right.

And it’s working:

In December and January, Salon published 33 percent fewer posts than it had in those same months the previous years — but it saw 40 percent greater traffic. Slashing the amount of content it published by a third, the site still logged record-high unique visitor numbers — 7.23 million at the end of January — and without any “big viral hits” that would have skewed the numbers, Lauerman said.

From What Charlie Sheen Taught Salon About Being Original {nieman journalism lab}.