Sunday, February 28, 2010

An Old Rant

We are each responsible for our actions on the web.

It is not realistic to expect to completely regulate copyrighted resources on the web as this can not be done without restricting access to free (as in speech or beer) resources. It is also unreasonable to expect to use copyrighted materials for free without consequence.

Entities which choose to do business on the internet and distribute their copyrighted resources there need to consider that the value of the web is rooted in the ideas woven into it's design from the beginning: openness and sharing. The value of our web to our society is in it's ability for us to create virtual communities where we can share knowledge and experience, allowing for and encouraging specialization and advancement in all fields. To effectively do business on the web, entities need to distribute their property in such a way as to (1) provide incentives to their customers to buy product through their distribution channels and (2) make their distribution channel as accessible or more accessible as their competitor's.

In thinking about this, it seems as though value to a web oriented culture is most intrinsically found in providing services and platforms that build upon it's strengths. It is counter intuitive to try and build a business on the web around sales of generic media (copyrighted materials) and policing customers to make sure they pay for it. There are millions of people on the web who love to make content for free and who are, frankly, often times better at it than the companies who are trying to sell the same thing.