I’ve never been a fan of automated approaches to plagiarism, but the idea seems to be taking off for the corporations who are upset with people who clip and remix – because, well, that’s ours and besides, surely there’s some way we can make money off it?
The Wall Street Journal reports a new venture will scan the web for your property so that you can either put a stop to it or charge for the use.
Attributor appears to go further than existing techniques for weeding out unauthorized uses of content online . . . [Company execs] claim to have cracked the thorny computer-science problem of scouring the entire Web by using undisclosed technology to efficiently process and comb through chunks of content. The company says it will have over 10 billion Web pages in its index before the end of this month
So if I understand this, they copy web pages to see if they’ve been copied. And this kind of indexing, unlike the Google library project, doesn’t violate anything because media companies might make money from it – and the heck with innocent bystanders whose work is copied into this massive database without permission. They aren’t in business, so their rights don’t matter. Right?
What corporations don’t seem to understand is that a lot of the people involved in remix culture aren’t interested in monetizing “intellectual property” – see the total puzzlement when business folk tried to figure out why the Craigslist founder didn’t want to maximize his profit. They just couldn’t wrap their heads around it. (Thanks to Library Juice for the link.)
The secret of Web 2.0 is that it revels in creation without worrying about artificially limiting access by charging a toll. This outpouring of creativity challenges the standard wisdom that the only incentive for creators is cash.
I can’t help but be reminded of how so many academic publishers are also stymied by this new reality. As Jon Jensen said in a speech last March –
I watched the more open access Muse journals like PostModern Culture get far more traffic than the closed ones. It was at Project Muse that I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation which convinced me that we were spending more of our grant money *preventing* people from access to the online journals, via security and IP-range subscription system development, than we spent enhancing access and adding value. This opened my eyes to some strange realities of electronic scholarly publishing.
He moved to the National Academies Press, and proved that open access works – it enables discovery, generates book sales, and frees up the publisher to do what they do best. When will big media catch up to the idea that someone posting thirty seconds of Jon Stewart on YouTube isn’t in it for the money – but drives audience to the show? If they could figure out that we’re not all into monetizing, and stop spending so much money trying to make us stop, they could relax and reap the benefits of fans growing their market.
Take it from the Person of the Year. Some of us don’t want to maximize revenue – we just wanna have fun.