November 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

So, I was thinking about this over the long holiday while I was reading about the new ebook reader from Amazon when it occurred to me that pretty much, at no time over the past 600 years has anyone worried about people sharing copyrighted material.  Ever since I was a kid, I’ve borrowed books, bought used books (in fact, it’s big business at colleges all over the world) and loaned books to friends without knowing that I was breaking the law.

Was I?

Why is it we’re so worried about it now?  Is it simply because of the ability to mass distribute copies?  I can’t think of anything else that it could be.  People made mix tapes for years, copied their friends tapes, borrowed books, etc. without a peep from anyone about copyright infringement.  Now, though, it’s a big deal.  If the ability to mass distribute didn’t exist, would there be such an uproar?

And yet, the ability to mass distribute is also making it possible for people who would have never been published before to publish themselves and put their work out there for anyone and everyone.

So maybe that’s the problem.  The machine that decides who is worthy to publish, or have their songs played, is losing control.  The democratization of content creation and distribution seems to be what’s really scaring the machine.  The fact that a select few no longer control the entertainment options for the masses, so they’re trying to over-control what they do have a say over.

The culture is changing, and I’ve said it before – the companies that get on board now and figure out how to roll with it will be the ones that survive.



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