Friday, March 20, 2009

Newspapers Have Issues

Oh, how the internet has changed the rules of business, and oh how so many companies still just don't get it. The newspaper industry has been particularly hard hit due to its failure to adapt. The Rocky Mountain News is no more whereas the Seattle Post-Intelligencer no longer puts out a print edition existing solely online.

I found this on Mental Floss. It's an excerpt from an essay called Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable by Clay Shirky

Back in 1993, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain began investigating piracy of Dave Barry’s popular column, which was published by the Miami Herald and syndicated widely. In the course of tracking down the sources of unlicensed distribution, they found many things, including the copying of his column to on usenet; a 2000-person strong mailing list also reading pirated versions; and a teenager in the Midwest who was doing some of the copying himself, because he loved Barry’s work so much he wanted everybody to be able to read it.

One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days.

And yet the NY Times doesn't seem to have figured anything out, given this article from Boing Boing. They sent a DCMA take-down notice to Apartment Therapy New York demanding they remove a long list of blog posts containing NY Times images. Never mind that each post also linked to NY Times articles. As Boing Boing put it:

Pop quiz: You're a troubled media dinosaur struggling to find your way on the Web. What steps can you take to actively discourage people from linking to you, thus reducing your pageviews and revenue?

For those unaware, a DCMA take-down notice can result in your ISP disabling your servers if you do not comply. This wasn't a "please take down those images" letter. This was a "take them down or we will destroy you" declaration of war.

DMCA Take Down Notice: The NYTimes Goes to War & Wants to Shut us Down

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.