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Doctorow Says Google & Amazon Stifle Progress 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the among-others dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google and Amazon are 'a danger to everyone involved in the creative industries' because they act as the intermediary between creators and audiences, says Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow. He warns that the corporate giants will 'only fear competition from other established giants ... companies whose character as gatekeepers of video distribution and discovery won't be substantially different.' The solution, he says, is to use copyrights to lower the cost of entering the market. 'For so long as copyright holders think like short-timers, seeking a quick buck instead of a healthy competitive marketplace, they're doomed to work for their gatekeepers,' he says."
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Doctorow Says Google & Amazon Stifle Progress

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  • Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:29AM (#28401665) Homepage

    Saying that Amazon and Google stifle innovation because they sit as an intermediary between creators and audiences is a bit like saying the Roman Catholic church stifles religion because a priest sits between the Creator and his followers.

    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:44AM (#28401803)

      Saying that Amazon and Google stifle innovation because they sit as an intermediary between creators and audiences is a bit like saying the Roman Catholic church stifles religion because a priest sits between the Creator and his followers.

      It's more like the Roman Catholic church sits between the Faith and its followers. And they did stifle any changes from the doctrine, by torturing or murdering people who had different opinions. See the original Martin Luther, or Kepler.

      • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Informative)

        by jollyreaper (513215) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:12PM (#28402433)

        Saying that Amazon and Google stifle innovation because they sit as an intermediary between creators and audiences is a bit like saying the Roman Catholic church stifles religion because a priest sits between the Creator and his followers.

        It's more like the Roman Catholic church sits between the Faith and its followers. And they did stifle any changes from the doctrine, by torturing or murdering people who had different opinions. See the original Martin Luther, or Kepler.

        The OP had to have been speaking ironically there or else he is dense as neutronium. The whole big argument with Martin Luther and the Church was about giving people access to their faith. When he nailed his Theses to the church door, the Bible was not written in the vulgate. The masses were conducted in Latin and Catholicism remained a giant mystery religion. The reforms he proposed were threatening to the Church because if people did not need priests to intercede for them with God, there would be no need to continue supporting the massive ecclesiarchy.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          I vote "dense" given his "Oh please" subject line.

        • When [Luther] nailed his Theses to the church door, the Bible was not written in the vulgate

          Actually, it was written in the Vulgate. the problem was that the vulgate hadn't been the vernacular for a thousand years, even in the areas where it had been spoken. Vulgate was the common Latin dialect(s) of the western empire, spoken by the common people, which is why the Bible was translated into that. This was originally a move to make the bible more accessible to the masses. but then bureaucracy and inertia too

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        by torturing or murdering people who had different opinions. See the original Martin Luther, or Kepler.

        Neither Martin Luther nor Johannes Kepler were tortured or murdered by the church. In fact, it was only *after* Martin Luther complained that the Copernican model was incompatible with scripture that the church established a doctrinal position on the structure of the solar system in order to win back protestant converts (as part of the counter-reformation). Before that, they really couldn't care less -- and were quite happy hiring Copernicus as a consultant to fix their church calendar.

        You know, I completel

    • Saying that Amazon and Google stifle innovation because they sit as an intermediary between creators and audiences is a bit like saying the Roman Catholic church stifles religion because a priest sits between the Creator and his followers.

      And? The Roman Catholic church saddled Europe with a ridiculous Aristotlean physics for centuries, while better alternatives were already available. That is definately a case of coming between the mind of the 'creator' and his followers. Not to mention suppressed theological heresies, many of which were better but less profitable than what the church was up to with the sale of indulgences, etc.

      This is not a new problem - there's even a parable for it in the New Testament, about dogs at the trough that do

    • by GrantRobertson (973370) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:17AM (#28402041) Homepage Journal

      The Roman Catholic church has stifled diversity and innovation in religion specifically because the Pope and priests pose as intermediaries between between the parishioners and their god. Just ask Martin Luther. He couldn't even get the "Church" to allow him to translate the Bible into his native language so individuals could determine for themselves what it actually said and meant. He had to use innovation and start his own church, thereby increasing diversity in religion.

      When organizations become so big that they are a practical monopoly (I don't want to get into a debate about what exactly is a monopoly and who has or doesn't have one. I define "practical monopoly" to mean most people go to them first when looking for a specific type of product or information to a great enough degree that that organization has a large and significant influence on what information people find or products they buy.) then they can stifle innovation simply by not making it easy for the public to find those things.

      Lately I have been complaining that Google stifles my ability to find what I need simply by predominantly showing me sites that are selling a thing rather than simply have information about the thing itself. This stifles my access to new and innovative things simply by burying them amongst the marketing sites.

      • Lately I have been complaining that Google stifles my ability to find what I need simply by predominantly showing me sites that are selling a thing...

        Perhaps you are an advocate for Microsoft's new offering? What you just said is a meme they are disparatly attempting to establish in the social conciousness via shilling. My experience with Google is quite the contrary to yours. I don't remember a single occasion where I have seen an ad posing as information. Of course ads must be there I suppose, but I think

    • It actually DOES do that. I guess that means Doctorow might be substantially right after all, then?

      (Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of religion nor the Catholic Church in particular, unlike my genuflecting parent there.)

    • by SQL Error (16383) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:31PM (#28402501)

      Martin Luther called. He wants his 95 Theses back.

    • by risk one (1013529)

      Saying that Amazon and Google stifle innovation because they sit as an intermediary between creators and audiences is a bit like saying the Roman Catholic church stifles religion because a priest sits between the Creator and his followers.

      You mean it's a valid opinion, shared by many people?

    • Saying that Amazon and Google stifle innovation because they sit as an intermediary between creators and audiences is a bit like saying the Roman Catholic church stifles religion because a priest sits between the Creator and his followers.

      Oh please? Actually, that's pretty much what Protestantism was originally about.

    • by Neoprofin (871029)
      That's crazy talk! Everyone knows that if man were capable of communicating with God himself people would get all sorts of wild ideas, the whole hierarchy of the church would be undermined!
  • Sorry Cory... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:30AM (#28401673) Journal

    But intermediaries are never going to go away. A model where millions of creators market directly to hundreds of millions of customers just isn't going to work; the good stuff will be buried in the dreck (even worse than it is in the current system).

    • Re:Sorry Cory... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:14AM (#28402023)
      The pathetic thing about mr Doctorow's comment is that the media services provided by Amazon made it possible for the very first time in the history of the music business that a nobody could market it's modest album throughout the entire world without the intervention of the established music industry. Yes, amazon and the like are still middle men but this time the middle men only acts as the communications channel, without imposing any barriers to entry or even draconian distribution contracts thatm, for example, somehow automatically put the artists millions of dollars in debt, not to mention the Hollywood accountancy. Let's see anyone do that with a geocities web site.
      • by tepples (727027)

        the media services provided by Amazon made it possible for the very first time in the history of the music business that a nobody could market it's modest album throughout the entire world without the intervention of the established music industry.

        First time? Try the old MP3.com, whose D.A.M. service let artists sell phonorecords of their work on CD-R, burned on demand. But how does Amazon let artists promote their work? Does it include promotion to people in vehicles through FM radio?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ibbey (27873)

        I'm guessing that you haven't read TFA yet...

        That danger is that a couple of corporate giants will end up with a buyer's market for creative works, control over the dominant distribution channel, and the ability to dictate the terms on which creative works are made, distributed, appreciated, bought, and sold.

        And the danger of that is that these corporate giants might, through malice or negligence, end up screwing up the means by which the world talks to itself.

        He also specifically says:

        I have a lot of symp

    • by Klistvud (1574615) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:18AM (#28402045)

      The original article is just an oh-so-typical piece of American thinking, wherein money and market are the ultimate movers of everything.

      Of course, if your concept of culture stops at Coke, Pop Music and Hollywood, this may hold true. If it extends to encompass Homer, Beethoven, Boole, Sartre, or Australian aboriginal art, however, you'll have to admit there is no direct correspondence between cultural "value" and market "price". The CULTURAL value of Picasso is NOT the price of his painting as sold at the latest auction.

      Culture will go on existing even after all the Googles, Amazons, Wall Streets and Doctorows have perished.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        The original article is just an oh-so-typical piece of American thinking, wherein money and market are the ultimate movers of everything.

        It's not typical here, it is common, but not typical. It's also true, in a sense. Power is the ultimate mover of everything - he who has it has substantial control over his surroundings. The more power one has, the more control he has.

        In the modern world, Money buys Power. More Money = more Power, more Power = more Control. Therefore, more Money = more Control. It's not some crazy irrational thought process, it's a truth of the modern world. There are parts of the world where money has less of a conn

        • by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @01:15PM (#28402769)

          Also, culture does not last. Look at fall of the great civilizations in history - the Babolonians, the Persians, the Romans, etc.

          Wealth is even more transient. Do Crassus's children "buy power" in our modern world with the money their ancestor made? Wealth dissipates.

          I think when you misunderstand the word "culture" to mean "a civilization" or "an empire" or "a continuous polity." The Romans are gone, but you are reading this post in their alphabet, and I know who Crassus was. The cultural artifacts of Rome and Persia are with us just as much as they were when they were created. The only thing that's changed is the particular identities of the rich people who patronize them. Culture, to an extent, stands apart from politics and economy.

          In the modern world, Money buys Power. More Money = more Power, more Power = more Control.

          There are a few very, very wealthy Burmese and Iranian people that would disagree. The belief that material wealth confers political power or legitimacy is a particularly American notion. Religion, and cultural institutions like monarchies carry just as much sway.

        • the great civilizations in history - the Babolonians

          *sits, rapt* Oh do, do tell us more of the Time And The Kingdom Of The Baboons, papa!

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        The original article is just an oh-so-typical piece of American thinking...

        Cory Doctorow is Canadian. Though I guess that doesn't mean he's not capable of typical American thinking. And perhaps you meant American as in 'North American'.

    • But intermediaries are never going to go away. A model where millions of creators market directly to hundreds of millions of customers just isn't going to work; the good stuff will be buried in the dreck (even worse than it is in the current system).

      And other than bare assertion, why do you think that to be true? Why must there be an intermediary to perform editorial duties? Why can't an editor/reviwer who picks and chooses high quality works from the pool of available works do so without having a financial interest in the chosen works? That's kind of like saying that there will never be financial advisors who don't own shares in the companies that they promote. IIRC, Oprah does that sort of thing already and to the best of my knowledge she does no

    • by icebike (68054)

      But intermediaries are never going to go away. A model where millions of creators market directly to hundreds of millions of customers just isn't going to work; the good stuff will be buried in the dreck (even worse than it is in the current system).

      Agreed.
      And further, having Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow decry intermediaries when that is the job definition of an Editor seems more than a little disingenuous.

    • Yes and no. There are a lot of webcomic creators (myself included) attempting to do this for better or worse.

      Yes, intermediaries take a cut of our proceeds, but in exchange they provide a certain level of convenience - I can own a $300+ button-making machine and sell my own buttons as they're ordered online / at conventions, or I can focus on just making buttons for conventions (when I can make a reasonable estimate of how much I need at that time, hence can make a bunch at once on someone else's machine fo

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Hognoxious (631665)

        It almost sounds as if you're suggesting that artists concentrate on doing their art and let business people deal with the business.

        Preposterous!

        • by russotto (537200)

          It almost sounds as if you're suggesting that artists concentrate on doing their art and let business people deal with the business.

          Preposterous!
           

          It is preposterous. It's a recipe for the artists to get fleeced by the business people.

          • It's more like it's a way to "test a market" without having to invest heavily in merchandise and machinery first.

            In my example above, if something is massively successful to the point that there's no reason not to do the fulfillment yourself, you can always switch later. There's no contracts or other niggling details to keep you tied down any longer than necessary, and even if you decide to keep an avenue of service open, you can always do new stuff yourself for a higher profit margin.

            i.e. sure, you might g

    • I don't agree with the article, but... why do there have to be intermediaries? The whole success story of the Internet is that... it removed a lot of the intermediaries. Suddenly, you could have 1 single `creator' reaching millions of folks without too much investment. Now, you suddenly need an investment into...google/amazon (paying them to advertise you---to connect you to your customers).

    • by shakuni (644197)

      Its the number of disintermediaries that is the problem here - too few and hence too powerful.

  • by retech (1228598)
    Put your copyright in,
    take your copyright out,
    put your copyright in,
    and you shake it all about

    you do the Cory bullshit speak
    and you twist some words around,

    that's what it's all about.
    • His little dance does not include having his own works removed from Amazon or Google...
      I just checked and he is well represented in the search results of both sites.
  • What (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:34AM (#28401711)
    So artists should spend 60 hours a week pressing disks and mailing boxes to cut out the middleman? So there should be a hundred thousand separate online stores, one per manufacturer? I'm not giving out my credit card number to some rubik's cube manufacturer, but Amazon is trustworthy. And how does it make good sense to design a web site for every manufacturer; just uniting everything in one familiar format is much more efficient. Any possible gains from doing it on your own would be offset by the cost of developing and deploying your own ecommerce platform. I don't think Doctorow realizes how many millions of dollars it costs to run warehouses and hire workers.
    • Re:What (Score:5, Funny)

      by schon (31600) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:50AM (#28401841)

      So artists should spend 60 hours a week pressing disks and mailing boxes to cut out the middleman?

      You're right! It's sad that in this day and age, the only way to transmit music is by pressing it to a disc and packaging it to send to someone! If only there was some easy way for music, text, and video to be sent easily and painlessly from one person to another! I'm envisioning something like a "web" that connects people together. And if it was electronic, that would be even better! Maybe it could even involve computers in some way!

      *sigh* but here I am, dreaming of something that will never be.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Brian Gordon (987471)
        They could do only digital distribution but they're missing out on a lot of money. Probably more money than amazon would take off the top.

        Also good luck with digital distribution of electric shavers and vacuum cleaners.
      • If only there was some easy way for music, text, and video to be sent easily and painlessly from one person to another! I'm envisioning something like a "web" that connects people together. And if it was electronic, that would be even better! Maybe it could even involve computers in some way!

        Oh, some sort of "inter-network" so that people can download their broad bands [wikipedia.org]. I don't see it reaching rural areas without some sort of new deal analogous to the U.S. rural electrification [wikipedia.org] starting in the 1930s.

  • Licensing fees (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:39AM (#28401763) Homepage

    I read the article and I still not quite sure what he is talking about. He seems to be complaining about fee structures. Amazon doesn't control compensation structures and offers all sorts of direct sales models and google by and large doesn't sell content at all.

    I couldn't follow even the basic cause and effect claim for his issue with the current model.

    • Here is what he is talking about:
      • Copyrighted material (books, music, video, etc) is distributed by a relatively few number of distributors
      • The distributors etc are the gatekeepers to copyrighted material both directly by only buying the things that they think they can sell and indirectly becuase if they don't buy something, the producers and publishers will stop producing said stuff.
      • In some cases,Walmart, etc, the retail outlets have asked, and received, modified content
      • In some cases, upstarts have thumbe
      • by jbolden (176878) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:28AM (#28402099) Homepage

        I'm sorry maybe I'm being stupid but I'm not still not clear how this list hangs together. It just seems like "list of stuff I don't like" and I don't see what Amazon or Google have to do with it.

        And how are search engines raising the barriers of entry into distribution? It seems to me they've done the exact opposite. Distribution is much much easier today than it was 15 years ago.

        Maybe could you work an example of how this plays out?

        • by geekboy642 (799087) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @12:11PM (#28402421) Journal

          I'm sorry maybe I'm being stupid but I'm not still not clear how this list hangs together. It just seems like "list of stuff I don't like"

          "Hey you kids, get off my search engine!"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hal9000(jr) (316943)
          Disclaimer: I don't necessarily agree with Doctrow's position, but I also have looked into it very deeply, either.

          His claim, however, is that Google settled with the Authors Guild to pay a one time fee to authors if their books are indexed. I know this because my wife, who is a novelist, filled out the form for her publisher. The settlement was going to be quite small. Anyway, Doctrow's position is that Google, being a big honking company with deep profits negotiated with the Authors Guild to Google ben
          • by jbolden (176878)

            Oh I see. He's basically saying that google has the same kind of strangle hold as ____ (what ever the old services were).

            I'd disagree but at least this argument makes sense. IMHO

            1) There was nothing comparable prior to Google
            2) Google's win over Altavista (and more importantly Lycos) came from radically redefining the advertising industry not the search industry. They had a brilliant brilliant idea and they have followed it up with dozens of truly great ideas since then.

            Thank you for explicating what h

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zerth (26112)

      The TLDR of it is that he thinks Google and Amazon are too awesome and will become the only way you get at things, thus giving them too much power.

      Not that he thinks they'll abuse it, but he's sad that content creators act like an abused spouse hooking up with another abuser(monopoly/cartel) instead of finding a healthy relationship(using their almighty copyright to force fair percentages).

      As most of them, deep down, wanting to feel like rockstars, they'll sell their rights to any company for a penny if it

      • by jbolden (176878)

        OK makes sense. But how does Amazon vs. say Borders (store) effect content creation very much? And I'm unclear what Google's role is here.

        The point about why people sell their stuff is interesting. Especially since that's exactly what I'm hoping for (the signing tour, though I wouldn't complain about the groupies). I'm looking for fame / name recognition from the book. The publisher can keep the money, I want to make it on consulting not authoring.

      • Amazon already *has* abused it. Both by required independent authors to use their print service, and more recently cutting off partners or writers who took on LGBT subjects, claiming that knowing about gays is an 'adult' subject.

        • by BitHive (578094)
          That latter incident was an error. They corrected it and apologized.
        • by Zerth (26112)

          People can circumvent the crap publishers, distributors, and B&N/Borders pull by publishing through Amazon.

          Agreed, Amazon has its own crap, like the printing and licensing requirements, which may become more publisher-like if Amazon published books get to be a significant slice of the market.

          But they currently have almost 0 interest in acting as a "marketable content filter" that limited inventory & return issues forces upon the current publishing industry.

          You will not get an advance from Amazon, no

      • by schwaang (667808)

        Zerth:

        The only content creators that will get any fair shake are those writing books, lyrics, etc, as a profession instead of a passion.

        I think part of CD's point is that not even professional authors (of which he is obviously one) get a fair shake against a near-monopoly. From TFA:

        Publishing is constrained by a tiny number of giant distributors and two major bookstore chains, all of which demand ridiculous terms on the books they carry

        • by Zerth (26112)

          CD isn't a "professional" author in the sense that he does not write only to what the market is buying. He writes his own stuff, and people like it.

          Artists get screwed by the industry.

          But there are authors that only write whatever kind of book is in the top 20, knock out 3 or 4 novels a year(some do a dozen), and they always plan a series arc on the chance they strike interest. They don't ask for big advances, nor expect frequent mass success, they making a living on quantity and playing to the market.

          Sam

    • by perlchild (582235)

      Google checkout and most of the payment processors have a fee structure.

      IMHO he's objecting to the fact that once a provider like amazon or google has the public's trust, they can both profit from it, and abuse it, usually at the same time. A "They're too big to be benevolent anymore, downsize them" theory.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        I'm still not sure I follow how do transaction fees (minor ones) have much to do with creative freedom? What's a few percent matter one way or another for author freedom?

  • The irony is that Dr Doctoro is another intermediary too, putting himself between the things he finds interesting and us. what a corporate dog! I free myself of your monopoly!

    • by langelgjm (860756)
      He's also not a "doctor" of anything.
      • He is a Cory, that is his formal title, you could call him Cr. Doctorow

        • He is a Cory, that is his formal title, you could call him Cr. Doctorow

          'Tis an injustice that you are not modded up. For, I read Cr. Doctorow, as Cocker Doctorow, which, is rather brilliantly funny.

      • He's also not a "doctor" of anything.

        So he's not a doctor, oh?

        (Actually, "Dr Doctoro" sounds like the worst supervillain ever, a mad scientist whose weapons and powers are entirely stethoscope and tongue-depressor related or something. "Someday, Spider-Man, you shall feel the cold touch of my DETHOSCOPE!")

        • by tjstork (137384)

          (Actually, "Dr Doctoro" sounds like the worst supervillain ever, a mad scientist whose weapons and powers are entirely stethoscope and tongue-depressor related or something. "Someday, Spider-Man, you shall feel the cold touch of my DETHOSCOPE!")

          Either that, or a really bad, or should I say, good, porn film. "Come here, Spider-girl, and feel the warm touch of my throbbing DETHOSCOPE!"

  • by krou (1027572) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:07AM (#28401959)

    Essentially, the main complaint he has is that the creative industry is going to be governed by a handful of companies (an oligopoly) or a single company (a monopoly), and that this has great risks for the creative industries because said company/companies will be able to impose their will on the creative artists e.g. what books they'll stock/sell, what price they'll pay for it, and sell it at, etc.

    The only way to combat this is to ensure that there are no "gatekeepers", and that there is healthy competition.

    However, he's saying that the cost to enter the market for these competitors is becoming too high because of deals involving copyright issues that place Google and Amazon at the forefront since they can afford to pay the high sums being asked for.

    So, he's saying that RIAA, the MPAA, the Author's Guild and the like should make it much cheaper and easier for people to get into the market to sell stuff. FTA:

    What if the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) had started out by offering MP3 licenses on fair terms to any wholesaler who wanted to open a retailer (online or offline), so that the cost of starting a Web music store was a known quantity, rather than a potentially limitless litigation quagmire? What if the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the North American Broadcasters Association made their streams available to anyone who paid a portion of their advertising revenue (with a guaranteed minimum), allowing 10 million video-on-demand systems to spring up from every garage in the world? What if the Authors Guild had offered to stop suing Google for notional copyright violations in exchange for Google contributing its scans to a common pool of indexable books available to all search-engines, ensuring that book search was as competitive as Web search?

    Dunno, it seems to me that he's just describing basic economics, and the dangers of monopolies and oligopolies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      What's REALLY funny, as another commenter pointed out earlier, is that every company he complains about started as some guy with an idea and a garage about 10-20 years ago! Talk about raising the barrier to entry!

      Google did not exist in the early 90's, some guys with a great idea for a search algorithm started a search engine in their garage (or maybe basement, I don't remember). People started saying "Hey, this is kinda cool", and it grew, and as it grew so did it's influence, and eventually the Mega-Cor

  • by jfbilodeau (931293) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:27AM (#28402095) Homepage

    I have to disagree with TFA. Google and Amazon make it easier for the little guys to get noticed. It's true they act as intermediary, but they lower the entry cost that is normally associated with traditional publishing/marketing. ...and if you don't want to get noticed via Google or Amazon, go ahead and set up your site/service/product from scratch and hope that it get's noticed. It has worked for some!

    On a personal note, my sister published her first book, and has played Amazon and Google asa well as traditional marketing, and is now her publisher's #1 seller. Her success is a combination of hard-work, traditional marketing (out of her own pocket) and playing the web.

    J-F

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      True, they have. But that is no guarantee they will continue to help the little guys.

      Once upon a time, the record companies helped little guys. Now, they have gotten themselves into a position where can collect royalties on tracks from indy artists. True, the indies can claim the royalties due them, but are required to pay $50 (per year, as I recall) to do so. Yes, I know this is nominally to cover costs, but if my tracks do not "earn" enough in statutory royalties, then they get to keep some of my money (e

  • .. and similar. This is also true about _any_ kind of creative work n the current situation. Consider creative works and "intellectual property" produced by coders. Same exact thing and same gatekeepers.
  • Amazon doesn't kill progress. I do. Muhahahahaha.
  • ...they are fast becoming the intermediary between creators and audiences (and vice-versa), and that this poses a danger to everyone involved in the creative industries.

    He simply doesn't get it. Thankfully, he outlines just how little he gets it very early in his article but he wants more competition but fails to realize that Amazon and Google, as intermediaries between creators and audiences, ARE competition with big media companies. For too long, big media companies have sat back and been lazy as they've manipulated and controlled their industries with no real competition in sight. Now, companies like Amazon, Google, (and Apple with iTunes and others) are showing up an

  • I love this quote: He warns that the corporate giants will 'only fear competition from other established giants ... when applied to Google and Amazon, two companies that were either nonexistent or minuscule 15 years ago.

  • But there are enough "hits" in this to raise your eyebrows a little.

    EPIC 2015 [makingithappen.co.uk]
    About EPIC 2014 and EPIC 2015, from Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

  • Google may tend to promote things that are Google-centric, and they may fail to recognize the importance of things that don't fit into their view. The same can be said of any big time development and distribution organization. That doesn't mean they stifle competition, or development. If there is any major player out there that actively seeks to stifle development that they can't control, that would be Microsoft. Even they are becoming less relevant, in that respect, thanks to Euro rulings among other t

  • As long as big content is simply trying to play shave-the-penny toll booth, and content creators are content to cede control of sales to others, others will find a way to make all the money.

    • One way or another, practicality forces interdependence. Even a cooperative effort among creators involves ceding some control. I would, however, be better than what we have - as long as the members can keep the association under control.

  • I worked form one of these stock photography companies and I would completely agree with this statement. Photographers are paid 30 cents per download per customer. On the other hand the stock photography company charges anywhere from $1 to $50 for that same image.

    Considering the technology is relatively simple and they are not generating the product, there is a lot of money that goes into management, marketing and sales. Of course these are the people that create the illusion that they are needed to sell

    • by hwyhobo (1420503)

      Considering the technology is relatively simple and they are not generating the product [...] these are the people that create the illusion that they are needed to sell this product

      1. "Product" encompasses everything, including packaging and delivery. Therefore they do contribute to the generation of the product.
      2. Technology is relatively simple? Really? Apparently not to the photographers, or they would all own stock photo agencies.
      3. These people do not create the illusion that they are needed - they are absol
      • The tech part is simple, but you are right about the promotional aspects.

        The poster is likely questioning the fee charged to customers as compared to the fee paid to the photographers. Is it really $49.70 per image purchased? I don't know. How did the meta data get into the services' databases? Was it just sucked from the meta data in the images? Are the customers buying images really getting good value for their money? Are the photographers being fairly compensated?

  • On what authority? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by malevolentjelly (1057140) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @01:19PM (#28402811) Journal

    Cory Doctorow seems to me to be a career activist, raised in an environment of "dismantling the system." This is the sort of person who's so blinded by ideology that he'll never choose to grasp anything outside of a contrary perspective to mainstream thinking. It's not that he doesn't--he can't.

    This man didn't even complete college. His education consists of attending a "Free" "Alternative Education" High School before failing out of college and working at a series of non-profits. Most of the people posting on this thread are probably more qualified to make statements on this matter in both a theoretical and real world sense. Think about it. Have you taken economics classes? You win.

    We're reading the words and ideas of someone who's been raised to just say things that are contrary. When Doctorow makes sweeping statements, it's best to back away and think through them. Sci-fi writers are good at sounding like they have authority. Sometimes, this leads to brilliant and revolutionary visions of the future in a superficial sense, other times you get Scientology.

    I know he's got oodles of "internet cred," but I'd just like to state for the record that I don't choose to credit this man as an authority in this field and I think we should take anything he says with a grain of salt.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by macshit (157376)

      When Doctorow makes sweeping statements, it's best to back away and think through them. Sci-fi writers are good at sounding like they have authority. Sometimes, this leads to brilliant and revolutionary visions of the future in a superficial sense, other times you get Scientology.

      I know he's got oodles of "internet cred," but I'd just like to state for the record that I don't choose to credit this man as an authority in this field and I think we should take anything he says with a grain of salt.

      I've never understood why he seems to have so much "cred," as he never actually seems to do anything particularly noteworthy. He seems to be the blog version of a celebrity who's "famous for being famous"...

    • Very well put. I am a (perhaps sometimes overly enthusiastic and/or unfair) frequent critic of Doctorow's goofy worldview and various hypocrisies, but at the heart of my intense dislike for the guy is what you've said. Am I an elitist because I don't consider someone without any degrees to be an expert on much of anything, especially difficult subjects like economics and law? Well... Maybe. What's wrong with expecting someone who gets as much of a readership as Doctorow gets to have at least proven himself

  • Inconsistency Alert (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brit74 (831798) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @01:23PM (#28402839)
    Funny, back in 2006, Cory Doctorow wrote an article titled: "Why Publishing Should Send Fruit-Baskets to Google", where he says:

    Google's new Book Search promises to save writers' and publishers' asses by putting their books into the index of works that are visible to searchers who get all their information from the Internet.

    Oh, and congratulations on getting yourself on slashdot, again, "anonymous reader" (aka Cory Doctorow). You are truely a master of self-promotion. Clearly, Doctorow has a talent for creating controversial stories to raise his status and visibility on the internet. It isn't really about the consistency of his views, but rather, saying whatever is going to get himself in the news.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ChienAndalu (1293930)

      Would mod you insightful if I had points. Instead I provide the link to the article you quote [boingboing.net]
      FTA:

      I'm sending [Google Book Search] my fruit-basket today. How about you?

      I think you're full of shit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by kklein (900361)

      Doctorow is a revolutionary, plain and simple. It doesn't matter what happens; it has to be overthrown. He is a tiresome blowhard and I often fantasize about giving him a wedgie in public. I've never given a wedgie in my life (I was usually the recipient, probably like a lot of Slashdotters), but he drags discourse down to that level.

  • It'a all about DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Uteck (127534)

    Cory is still mad because he can't release his audio books on Audible(owned by Amazon) because they require DRM on the audio books they sell, even if the author and copyright holder does not want DRM.

    Did YouTube take down some BoingBoing video and that has him cheesed at them now?

  • Ok what he is saying is that Google and Amazon aren't enough, we need more of their like, a lot more, to cover every niche.

    What he is missing is that Google and Amazon do not, keep the gate, google in particular is only a search engine, *the Internet is the gate*, Google in particular has no intention of hiding niche websites so nobody is getting obscured by it.

    There's nothing to see here...

  • does he also note down that google's adwords and adsense programs provided millions of individuals and small businesses with their breaks, because they were the first programs implemented by a major internet player to take small businesses, small webmasters and publishers seriously ?

    before adwords and adsense, big players were treating small site owners and businesses like dirt. they didnt care zit about them, they were the pariah of the internet practically. you wouldnt get accepted into their advertising

  • This is the same Cory Doctorow that was never willing to respect the Amazon boycott, right? As I remember it he was sticking Amazon affiliate links all over his site, long after slashdot had switched to bn.com.

    And he's still doing it [boingboing.net], isn't he?

    Funny, he sounds like someone with a clue:

    That danger is that a couple of corporate giants will end up with a buyer's market for creative works, control over the dominant distribution channel, and the ability to dictate the terms on which creative works are mad

  • Isn't Amazon still one of the few major players that will let almost anyone who self-publishes market their product through Amazon? Do they no longer do this?
  • Cory, you're talking about Google toppling a couple of big *search engine* companies, then saying nobody will be able to do to Google's Youtube business what Google did to Altavista and Yahoo. But Google didn't build Youtube, they bought it, with the money from the search business, after their own video site lost out to Youtube.

    So... someone DID "do it to Google", but instead of suing them they bought them.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @06:20PM (#28404839)
    I'm selling eBooks through Amazon and Fictionwise, and will move into POD books soon also through Amazon. There is no way to reach that audience other than by playing by their rules since I don't have a big mainstream publisher behind me. If I can sell for money through Google in the future I'll do it there as well. If Amazon and Google are making too much in the way of profits off of my work - compared to zero profits otherwise for me - then I will use what I do get from them to invest in their stock in order to share those profits.

    Wake me when a better proven selling model for a small author arrives.
  • Is he really equating the artificial scarcity [wikipedia.org] of the classic media publishing businesses with a "healthy competitive marketplace?" Healthy for a certain insider elite no doubt. Bad rubbish...
  • The problem of Google as content provider and intermediary is potentially deep, and transcends copyright issues. For many of us, Google is where we turn first to find out about a subject. If Google decides not to include a source of information in its search results, we may never learn that such a source exists. But do they do that? Why would they? They not only do it, but are willing to lie about it. I show how with an example here: http://lee-phillips.org/youtube/ [lee-phillips.org]

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