I love trained brains - thanks you, Giovanni-te-clarifier-
I think Sacha's point was that the saddle makers had to find new ways to adapt to the new automobile purely because it was reducing their old revenue stream. Undoubtedly, a number continued to produce saddles - we still have lots of riders, after all - but the horse stopped being the everyday commercial item it had hitherto been. So they had to learn upholstery.
The analogy isn't strictly comparable, as Giovanni points out, but the economic driver is the same.
The author's income stream is dependent on what the market will pay for their work, not the nature of the publishing. Perceived value is what will drive that, not copyright. In that sense, copyright just means that no-one else can derive that income stream.
I love trained brains
he is bloody good. I'd buy a book of his musings.
Sacha's analogy is far from silly (such a useful adjective!) imho.
people still need transportation, but just not on horseback as much as they used to. the technology changed, the activity it facilitated didn't (moving people around).
i interpreted it as an interesting way to view the evolution of how people read stuff. 40 years ago, nearly all in print. now, a huge chunk on a screen of some kind. the reading remains but the medium changes. horses or cars, people still getting about. so, how is his analogy "silly"?
copyright just means that no-one else can derive that income stream.
or make moves to undermine/circumvent it protection?
What Stephen said. When you take a longer view it is about transport, or about storytelling. The arrangements change.
Being digital is fundamentally different (as Shirky explains so well and as Negroponte illuminated over a decade ago). DMCA and similar statutes had to add preventing circumvention to previous IP arrangements.
We have not worked out ways to make things fair for creators and most of the noise is being made by middlemen who see their cut disappearing.
And, I'd love to know where that@ $10 figure comes from - what's paid to the ISP? The author?
i don't know Maho-no-i-land's exact business model, but i used to work in a related industry and they were part of a network we operated. they were doing very well even back then (around 2001). anyway, in their case their was no ISP cut from content fees because they were a non-official content provider. i.e. they put stuff up that anyone could look at on their phone, just like the normal free-view web. they made money out of ads.
i assume they do now have official status on the big mobile carrier sites, so they can bill for content through mobile phone invoices. the carrier does take a cut, but not much, because they are making money from the data traffic. Maho-no-i-land, as the publisher, would take a big cut, but the authors would do ok, because even if they were only getting 10-20% of gross, if they got several hundred thousand downloads (or millions) at 500 yen a pop (NZ$10) that would be a sizeable total.
it may not all be award-winning literature, but people are very much willing to pay for it because of the convenience, novelty, freshness, topicality, etc. the people who buy it obviously do so because they see that they are getting something of value, and they know the author will get something in return. the popularity of these things goes in waves, but this wave seems to have been going for a few years now, and getting bigger rather than smaller so far.
Actually, saddlemakers *didnt* adapt - furniture-makers were already there, and the kind of upholstry they did, was way outside ofjust leather-
Stephen W- there was already a rather well-developed method of moving people around. It was called *boats.* And, there were very vibrant other methods of how other people*read* print - from drama groups to marae huika - "words" are not static or contained. and radio was also a big part of life-"reading" is both heard & recorded - which is why I am really interested in this truely intertwined matter-
Mark H -"copyright just means that no-one else can derive that income stream."
Yep. Cool. Good.
I'm not sure that this hasn't gone to cross purposes now. Islander is saying that she doesn't have a problem with the existence of e-books, she just doesn't want a bar of them. Which is something that is really between her and her publisher. Sacha seems to be saying "don't worry, it's all going to turn out fine with e-books". Which may be true, but it's not going to convince Islander to want anything to do with them.
Both positions are fair enough.
Islander doesn't and shouldn't have to put up with her work being used in ways she doesn't approve of, at least while she's alive. She may be missing out. But then again, maybe not. E-books aren't big money makers yet, and there is the danger they could be money losers if they start getting ripped off, something that is absolutely a lot easier to do with an e-book than it is with print.
But I think e-books are coming, no matter how much authors do or don't want them. They really are just so much more convenient. Time will tell whether it is a good or a bad thing for the authors. That's crystal ball stuff.
As I see it, the real danger to Islander is not the ripping off. It's that people may actually defect from print, leaving her behind. They may actually prefer free or extremely cheap books. I can't see that this will necessarily mean a shocking degradation of the art of writing. I think it more likely that it will lead to a massive proliferation of it.
The other danger is that there is a proliferation of red tape.
Actually, following that thought: The beauty of the e-book is that it costs stuff-all to write and deliver. The value paid is almost entirely "what someone finds those words to be worth" (if they can be made to pay it). When I think of what I use the internet for, mostly for gleaning information, I find that almost all of it comes from amateur writers. I don't read manuals any more. There is just no point. I read forums, which will answer my specific question, and raise issue around it that I never even thought of. The people who write these forums usually have other sources of income, because although their answers have been valuable to me, I'm only one person. Their specific answers just don't have wide enough appeal to spin out much cash. The owners of the forums may be deriving some income, but not a great deal. But it's a pretty cheap thing to run.
Does this mean the end of the professional writer? Or at least the end of it as a potentially incredibly highly paid job?
I doubt it. There will still be people whose words are worth more, and appeal more widely, than others. They will still be able to charge a lot for that, one way or another. It will still sell. But the way that it gets the cash will almost certainly change.
Ben, I worry that if the big conversation about this is not steered intelligently in the interests of creators and consumers, then e-books will not be fine.
I agree e-books are inevitable. The concerns of authors like Islander are sensible, and it seems wise to protect their position until arrangements shake out. People do get hurt during big changes.
However, when the audience increasingly overlaps the authors then we have many interests in common. To find a way through, we need to understand the terrain and we need to act together.
The other danger is that there is a proliferation of red tape
Not with our Rodney on the job..
BenWilson - those are far-out assumptions.
And *if* people want pap - well, they already do! Fine.
Did you* really* mean
"I cant see that this will necessarily mean a shocking degradation of the art of writing. I think it more likely that it will lead to a massive proliferation of it." ?
Yes mate, I fear that too-
Actually, saddlemakers *didnt* adapt - furniture-makers were already there, and the kind of upholstry they did, was way outside of just leather
Fair point. What did all the saddlemakers do instead? Curious.
Sacha, I'm curious about what it is that you fear. Things like this silly Kindle t2s business? I see that as simply hurting the Kindle business, a foolish move.
Islander, the statement that the e-book is coming is not an assumption. It's a prediction.
Did you* really* mean
Yes, I really did. As I see it, more people writing means more chances of great art. It is not the sole domain of a very small group of people any more, and that is a good thing. Print is holding humanity back. I really think that. It's also killing a lot of trees.
BenWilson, if you read your post it actually says ""I cant see this will necessarily mean a shocking degradation of the art of writing. *I think it more likely that it will lead to a massive proliferation of it.*
That is, a massive proliferation of a ahocking degradation of the art of writing..
You are saying that. I didn't and I can't see how you parse it out of what I said. The "it" refers to "the art of writing". It is your assumption that massive proliferation also means shocking degradation. I don't think so. I'm sure a lot of crap will be written. More crap than ever before. But that is not the same as saying less that is good will be written. Surely you can see the distinction here?
More email is currently being written than ever before. A colossal proportion of it is spam. But that doesn't mean that the non-spam isn't getting written, or that it's become spammy, or in any way less valuable.
The beauty of the e-book is that it costs stuff-all to write and deliver
Though I agree with idea of delivery costs being reduced, well more the risks of physcial distribution, I don't see how the cost of writing has been impacted.
e-books also in all likelihood dilute the share of royalties to the author, unless the author is also the person who performs the reading.
The consider all the recording & proofing type activities. Add in translation to another language for another world of complexity.
Finding someone with a suitable voice and skill in reading aloud could be quite a task.
I don't see how the cost of writing has been impacted.
Because the standard can be so much lower. I think I may have not been clear there. The cost of writing something good is the same as it ever was. The author still has to do their research and search for their inspiration etc. But you can write something not particularly good and get it to a massive audience. With print, the cost of the distribution impacts backwards, driving a lot of writing out.
You could say this is excellent, that it drives quality in. But that does ignore all the people who don't particularly want quality. Or maybe they want both quality AND quantity. Or maybe they just can't afford quality. All of these people lose out with print.
And I have to say, a lot of what is printed is not high quality either.
Because the standard can be so much lower
take the example of the newspapers in the UK...does the pap sell because it's cheaper, or it's because that's what the people want/can be bothered to read? (Weekday prices Guardian is 80p, Times 90p, The Sun 30p)
Have also got some thoughts regarding if writing just got cheaper, aren't we pushing still more content into the tabloid end of the market.
Ben, I fear the imposition in e-books of music industry DRM and similar nuttiness, which will not enhance the interests of either creators or consumers. It would also hurt the business, the same as it has with music.
New ways of connecting people with content are evolving to replace traditional marketing and distribution. That includes negotiating quality in ways that harness peer evaluation where Amazon have been leaders. I don't know much about the Kindle, but I imagine it taking advatnage of that leadership.
I tend to think it's actually what they want to read. But I don't really know.
Yes, the tabloid will proliferate. So will novels. So will serious thought, and the expression thereof. Everything will proliferate. I would actually expect new forms to also appear, made possible only by the cheapness of the delivery. The world will be awash with writing, and everyone will find what they want, from quality through to trash. As they do now, just less efficiently, with a lot more dead trees.
Sacha, do you really think music is hurt? The way I see it, there's more good music available now than ever before. DRM be damned. There's also a pretty large amount of not particularly good music, again more than ever before.
OK, I don't listen to it so much, but that's only because I'm getting old and I've heard so much music.
Even in the newspaper industry there are rumblings about the use of the pay-wall. Shirky has pointed people at the following this very afternoon. How to charge for online content
On that other thread I've posted a link to a National Radio report regarding Flickr's Photographic Commons. I didn't mention Getty Images some time ago apparently reached a licensing deal with Flickr.