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PDF Free Ride: How the Internet is Destroying the Culture Business and How it Can Fight Back

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The incredible explosion of unpaid content, including piracy, has to severely impact the paid content industries; that is simple economics. Blaming people for deep change is pointless, and will not stem the tide. On the other hand, revolutions seldom go the way the originators imagine, or the zealots proclaim. This battle is far from over. Yes but revolutions are like new businesses. Many more are than succeed. And in this case it is a business revolution, as it were.

FREE RIDE | How Technology Companies Are Killing The Culture Business

I have already comment way too much on this blog post and I apologize for that. I think this however is an interesting and pertinent article on the topic.

Interview Robert Levine, part 3: Should we modify copyright?

First, you start with. Which has indeed been the case. And are you somehow denying the huge growth in creation and consumption though in earlier posts you celebrate just that? Report after report comes in documenting how they are doing better than ever. Maybe not the recording industry, but the music industry is swelling. Now you want to align yourself with traditional recording industry and others who failed to do so? This makes no sense. The issue is that technology companies are creating technology that uses content, but not returning much if anything to content producers.

Imagine if theater owners had not paid artists a fair rate, or movie moguls had not paid actors anything but bread and water. Scholarly publishers have adapted and avoided external disruptive technologies. But this is not disruption, either technology or innovation. This is an exploitation of creativity.

Is the trade-off for ad dollars really working out? There are a few breakthrough artists. And once this is gone, the leap from nowhere to blockbuster will be less interesting and more forced. And the math in some of those squares would require checking. Book revenues up 5. Adjusted for inflation? Not compounded? E-book sales up? Of course, they were nowhere 5 years ago.

What does that even mean? Global music industry value? What are they paying back to the companies that help source, refine, and produce these works? I think you might want to check your sources next time. The tech company invested in the creative idea and brought it to market.

That starts sounding like a parasite to me. Most technologies have either served content creators or collaborated better with them — printing, movies, television, radio, and pre-digital recording technologies. Please tell me you understand the difference between the internet, based on US govt. The graphical browser has a mixed history — standards and such developed at CERN, but Mosaic, which allowed it to take off, was developed at the University of Illinois. I had some stuff in about that, but it was too off-topic for an intro.

These companies exist to make money and most of the money they make goes to stock holders, not the scientific community. Public companies return money to shareholders, and universities invest in mutual funds, equity funds, and the like, many of which benefit from the performance of these stocks.


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All the companies you mention provide services for society and association publishers, and one assumes that these groups have contracted with the larger firms because it makes financial sense to do so — i. And these companies are not solely predicating their business enterprises on funneling money out of research budgets ala BMC, PLoS, and the like. This blog is run by independent people.

I know not all the bloggers here agree with me. However, the big change here is that the photocopier of scientific publishing is being paid for by research funds. The parasite has attached itself to research funds.

Discussion

So let me get this straight. As I and others have pointed out, this view is based on the ridiculous assertion that the billions of dollars suscription publishers siphon from universities and funding agencies are somehow coming from a pool of money that has nothing to do with research budgets. You use a subscription based business model which require that access be limited to people who have paid. You also claim repeatedly that the work you do it vitally important to the medical enterprise — helping physicians sort out clinically important information from the mass of the scientific literature.

Indeed the whole rationale for your business is that people will receive better medical care because your journals exist — and that many lives will be saved because physicians have access to the best, carefully vetted medical literature.


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And, undoubtably, lives are lost as a consequence. Therefore, the business model of your journal — The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery — and of every other subscription based publisher is solely predicated on killing people.

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The PLoS business model is predicated on drawing down research funds. Millions of dollars of research monies are not going to research because of it. What kind of progress is that preventing? The only reasonable reading of the finances of STM journals is to recognize that, in addition to the overwhelming majority of the content, most of the money is coming from academic and government research institutions, and that the debate about OA is not about who should pay to support publishing, but rather how they should pay and what they should demand from publishers in return.

And your efforts to tar PLoS and other OA publishers of dipping into research funds, while absolving yourself of the same crime, are despicable. Overhead payments cover a lot of different things.


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How you move them around inside a university budget is probably fairly moot at a certain level. But even if your data are accurate, there is the additional point that if it is paying for subscriptions to AAAS journals, OUP journals, CUP journals, society journals, or even most Elsevier or Lippincott journals, those monies go back under the control of scientists and academics who then decide how to allocate it again for research, education, training, and advocacy.

There is a virtuous cycle, and the creatives are reinforced by it. You clearly have no idea about how overheads function. They are the result of a complex negotiation between the federal government and every university or other research organization in which the government looks explicitly at how much the university spends in support of its federally funded research. One of the line items is library expenses, which, nowadays, is primarily serials acquisition.

And are you really arguing that the pittance Elsevier gives back to societies whose journals they have bought out somehow compensates for the billions of dollars they siphon out of government and university budgets every year? You think this is a virtuous cycle? Thank you for confirming that the budgets for subscriptions are separate, and are returned to the NIH if not used.

Does culture really want to be free?

This is what they do at the end of the budget year — try to squeeze every last dollar they can out of their budgets and get them to researchers. Get it? Actually, the indirect costs supported by NIH grants consist of many items, including office supplies, memberships, Internet access charges, administrative staff, books, postage, etc.

Library expenses can be staff, books, journals, photocopying, and repair and maintenance. Subscriptions are only a slice of this, and the philosophy is that these things support the researcher, who is the creative in science. So, ultimately, these are research expenditures, but they stay within science mostly now because they go back to organizations run by academics and scientists by and large.

Goes back to NIH? Stays in science. Goes to OUP? Goes to Elsevier? Goes to BMC? Not clear.

Goes to PLoS? Goes to Bentham? All us ignorant researchers have been barking up the wrong tree. Then Elsevier and other publishers would have more money, which — in the virtuous cycle Kent has so kindly informed us all about — they would then undoubtedly give back to the scientific community in the form of research funds.

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Thanks for explaining it! All these signs of market failure are subtle, but real. These are simply market forces at work, though. Now that the Internet has made production and distribution facilities cheaply available to everyone, whether through direct digital distribution or print-on-demand via Amazon, the oversupply will drive prices down to zero for all but the most unique and desirable products.

The product is a problem. The delay between submission and publication is typically many months and sometimes years. What we are reading in the academic literature is out of date and quite possibly erroneous.