Book Publishers Can't Buck the Web


Chris Nolan Says Google Print may or may not be the answer, but resisting the Web on the grounds of copyright won't help the publishing industry thrive.


The problem the big corporations face is that, for the first time in the history of business, they aren't the ones deciding where the industry goes.

Take music. For decades it was the recording industry who decided the format on which to record and how much to charge for it. First it was cylinders, then records, then tapes and 8 tracks, etc etc. All media was designed, utilized, and pushed by the recording industry. Then along comes this new "MP3" thing. At first, it's just a convenient method of delivering music over that new fangled "Web" thing. But those darned consumers really took to it didn't they? And they could easily make copies of these MP3s, couldn't they? Not like tapes or records where it took at least a few minutes to copy both sides of a tape, even with high speed dubbing.

No, they could make copies of these things in mere seconds, seconds I tell you! And, OMFG, they could share them with other people, people who (gasp!) hadn't acutally paid for this music! Never mind that such things were the equivalent of "I'll lend you my Madonna tape so you can make a copy of it." Things like that happened for years and the music industry saw it as a sort of minor thing. After all, they controlled the method of distribution, the media on which it's distributed, the artists who make the music, etc.

Now, suddenly, you have these upstart customers who want it a different way than the industry is ready for. The horrors! People actually want easy back up and trading with their friends and others! But we can have that! No no! They haven't paid for it! We're not ready! What do we do?

The answer is easy and awesome in its simplicity: Stifle it. Run those heathen consumers down and force them to like it your way. Sue the bastards if you have to. Keep them from doing what they want. After all, you might not get paid at all if they're allowed to do what they want.

Never mind that report after report and survey after survery shows that people who download music on the net actually buy more music than those who don't.

Now take that logic, and remix it to fit every other corporate conglomeration you need. Never mind that these be-suited and be-powertied morons said for years that computers are the wave of the future and would eventually replace all of our stereos and TVs as the main delivery of entertainment.

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