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The Media

Carping Over Creative Commons 276

Posted by michael
from the self-proving-thesis dept.
scubacuda writes "Arnold Kling, in his article, Content is Crap, writes, 'While there are many Net-heads who share Dan Gillmor's [and Larry Lessig's] enthusiasm for Creative Commons, I do not. It has little or no significance, because it is based on a strikingly naive 60's-retro ideological view of how content intermediaries function.' He compares artists' works to, well, raw sewage that publishers filter into something that can be later consumed by the public. 'What Creative Commons lets you do as an author is label your stuff before you flush it down the toilet.' Kling points to Bayesian Intermediaries (filters based on flexible keyword weights and 'trained' by user preferences) and weblogs as good ways to filter out the drivel that many content creators produce. (Dan Gilmore and Siva Vaidhayanatha respond, to which Kling responds in his blog."
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Carping Over Creative Commons

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:04PM (#5089219)
    That pretty much dooms slashdot, don't you think?
    • Well, I don't think you could build much of a publishing company based on the material in the -1 posts. Perhaps Gilmor will give it a go.

      But in reality, /. does have two valuable filtering functions in place; there's user moderation, of course, and there's the fact that only a few people are allowed to post stories in the first place. It was the user moderation that first caught my attention, since it's pretty effective at filtering completely worthless content (as opposed to filtering stuff that I simply disagree with). Likewise, even though I may think they're shallow, self-important, and ideologically confused, the /. editors manage to present a site that has a distinct personality. Soul, if you will.

      This is one of the things that bugs me about Google News... yes, it does a great job of aggregating links to news stories. But there's no people behind it, and it feels that way when when I look through it.
      • by 6hill (535468)
        This is one of the things that bugs me about Google News... yes, it does a great job of aggregating links to news stories. But there's no people behind it, and it feels that way when when I look through it.

        Of course, this can be seen as a benefit, too. No person's views and unconscious bias are inflicted on you; instead, you get all available sources and opinions presented as equals in their worthiness. Then it's the reader's task to make an educated judgement of the issue, as free of editorial bias as possible. It requires critical reading skills, but I personally prefer to chew my own news, as opposed to digesting ready-chewed stuff.

        • No person's views and unconscious bias are inflicted on you

          Wait a minute, someone wrote the code and filters that Google News uses. So there's still an inherent bias, although it may be at one remove. There's certainly "people behind it", just in a different way.

          This is not to say I don't like Google News. It's just that saying that it's unbiased is a somewhat dangerous assumption.

          grib.

    • AlterSlash [alterslash.org] seems to do a very good job of filtering out the drivel from Slashdot.
    • Oops (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bruce Perens (3872)
      And my whole book series, too. At least it's sewage that sells well, helps people get a job done, and gets good reviews :-)
    • Since copy and intellectual property rights (now reaching oxymoronic levels) have been given the stamp of iron-clad permanence and near holy sancity, I thought this might be the perfect protection for individual identity and privacy:

      Starting today, I hearby copyright my own unique creation - myself. My face, body, personal stats, biometric identifiers, speech, writing, and movement through space is hereby protected copyright to the fullest extent of the law. Anyone who copies my information in a database, shares my personal information with others, is guilty of piracy. My identity is mine, and mine alone, and falls under the purview of copyright protection. Anyone who has a copy of any of my unique identifying information, including fingerprints, iris scans, walking gates, and DNA, and possesses that information without permission is now elgible to be sued.


      On the one hand I admit this idea is silly, but I didn't write the rules of the game, the IP cartels, the congress, WIPO, and now the US Supreme court did. On the other hand, perhaps this is a way to use their laws to protect ourselves from invasions of privacy and unwanted intrusiveness of surveillance, which in this context is "stealing" our copyrights, and then pirating that information by copying and sharing it across countless goverment and corporate databases.

      Anyone who sees a flaw in this argument is welcome to contact me. If there are any lawyers who think something like this can be pulled off, then also please contact me.
  • by Josh Mast (1283) <josh@kaiju.net> on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:09PM (#5089241)
    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom [craphound.com], a super-keen new book just released under creative commons.
    • Yeah, that popped up on wired acouple of days ago...reading it now on my palm, 76% done. It's pretty decent too, with some neat idea's which I think will pan out in a century or two. I'm just trying to figure out why he calls it 'Whuffie'...world honourarium fee?
  • I would add an additional BSD-like clause that the name of the contributors cannot be used to promote the work:

    * Neither the name of the nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

    I don't know why the CC people didn't include something like this.
  • by Dolly_Llama (267016) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:10PM (#5089250) Homepage
    i wonder if kling built his article specifically to troll slashdot based upon keywords. Let's see: 1) Mention notable figure (lessig) check! 2) Take contrarian view (content creators are sewage) check! 3)Include buzzword (bayesian filter) check! 4) For bonus points, if at all possible, namedrop Google. check!

    Troll complete!

  • Sewage?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moridineas (213502) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:12PM (#5089276) Journal
    Well I must say I don't like the sewage analogy, but overall I do agree with the point. I would say that instead of sewage, authors (anyone who is creating something) often produce the raw ingredients for a meal--and it is the publisher who "cooks" the meal.

    Having experience at a small publishing company, I can say that a large number of authors have no idea how much work is needed to produce a book. Not just authors--a vast majority of slashdot viewers (and people in general) don't have any idea either I'm sure. Making a book even once an author has completed the manuscript is still time consuming and difficult--not just sending it to the press and saying 'done!'.

    To anyone who says publishers aren't needed, I'd advise them to try a job at a publishing shop for a short time, and see how they like the work.
    • Re:Sewage?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RazzleFrog (537054)
      Writing software is difficult, too. Yet is seems that there are thousands of applications out there that were written without the help of any major software company. Sure a lot of them are crap but the good ones often have a way of standing out.

      You are still wrapped up in the idea of physical publishing. Physically producing a book is a difficult task that requires time and money but writing a book only needs a talented author and some friends who are willing to proof read.
      • Re:Sewage?? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by susano_otter (123650)
        You are still wrapped up in the idea of physical publishing.

        Okay, but I'm not wrapped up in the idea of physical publishing. May I transition your points back into the digital-network arena?

        Physically producing a book is a difficult task that requires time and money...

        So is digitally producing a book, but the cost is distributed differently.

        ...but writing a book only needs a talented author and some friends who are willing to proof read.

        Writing a book only needs a monkey and a typewriter. Writing a good book needs a "talented author". Typically, it also needs a talented editor, and not simply "some friends who are willing to proofread". So right there we see two things: First, that simply authoring content doesn't guarantee the quality of that content. Second, a good editor is part of the process--a vital part currently supplied by the publisher. So it seems that publishers do provide a useful service. And since neither writing nor editing are limited to the physical realm, there doesn't seem to be any reason why the publishers shouldn't continue to add some of the same value in the digital arena as they do in the physical arena.

        But what value could they add? Well, there's the aforementioned editing, which is pretty important. We can probably discard the actual "publishing" value-add, since digital networks pretty much take care of that already. But digital publishing tools and management systems will undoubtedly become more important as time goes on, so that may change.

        Then there's marketing, which is the process by which publishers attempt to alert you to works you wouldn't necessarily become aware of or know how to find on your own. On the Internet, of course, we have the opposite problem: all the content is readily available and easily found. Instead of marketing, a process of pushing new content on us; we need filtering, a process of blocking the unneeded, unwanted, or otherwise valueless content. This is what Kling is talking about: filtering adds value to content, by sorting it into "valuable/not valuable" categories. I don't know about you, but I want the most efficent, most effective content filters I can get. The first company to meet that need will dominate the digital publishing world, as well it should. It will be adding quite a lot of value to the growing ocean of content, after all.

    • by Morgaine (4316) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:39PM (#5089465)
      Having experience at a small publishing company, I can say that a large number of authors have no idea how much work is needed to produce a book.

      While there is some truth in that of course, it is only part of the truth. The much larger truth is that without the content, the publisher has nothing, ZERO, zilch. Commensurate with this, the publisher does not really deserve much credit nor profit --- he is a middleman, useful, but still just a middleman.

      Furthermore, the "no idea how much work is needed" response is often used to justify the continued existence of the middleman even when he is no longer necessary. If technology respected such words of caution, we'd have no desktop publishing, no home video and graphics production, and no home music studios. And of course, the individual artist would always be just a tiny cog in an immense machine.

      The middleman does need to be put in his rightful place --- not necessarily extinction, but certainly in a limited niche.
      • by Moridineas (213502) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:55PM (#5089556) Journal
        Bah, I'm sorry, I stand by my earlier statement--if you want to really talk about this subject get some knowledge first--go write a book or work at a publishing shop.

        Your statement that "the publiher does not really deserve much credit nor profit" is ridiculous. Let me list a couple things that publishing companies do that authors are quite glad to have no part in doing--market books. The press with which I have experience largely works in college books and things like law books (ie, nonfiction). All publishers devote a signifigant amount of resources to sending people out to schools to get prospective sales--meaning more royalties for the author. How bout managing sales, shipments, warehouses? That's fun. Or dealing with supply vendors, printers, etc? That's great fun too.

        Another area I'm quite sure you haven't thought about. In many cases publishers are looking for a book--a book to fill a particular niche, and they go out and find an author to write said book. So if the publisher recruited an author like this is it fair to say that the author has "ZERO, zilch" and does not deserve much credit or profit?

        The publisher is NOT just a middleman--they DO take on many activities of middlemen, but the act of publishing a book is a process in which creativity comes out of the employees of the publishing company as well, and in many cases editors and others greatly help the authors.

        I could keep going ad inf. But I'll just stop here..
        • by mochan_s (536939) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:22PM (#5089764)

          The press with which I have experience largely works in college books and things like law books (ie, nonfiction). All publishers devote a signifigant amount of resources to sending people out to schools to get prospective sales--meaning more royalties for the author.

          College textbooks are the prime example of where the middle-man should be cut. The middle man is so bloated and large for college textbooks that the price of textbooks are ridiculous. And, what do the editors do?

          First of all, they demand that the textbook be submitted in Tex (so all typesetting is done). Second, a preliminary copy of the book would have been used in a professor's class (so it would have 99% of the mistakes weeded out). So, all the middle men fucking do is make money. I guess, for lower level classes, it takes a lot of work to "convince" professors to assign a $130 book when there's an equally good book for $20 (or a free downloadable book,lecture-notes from a website), or ask professors to upgrade the requirement to the alternate version or the web-enhanced version of the book so that student has to buy a new copy instead of a used copy.

          You can rationalize all you want about publishers being so important. Sooner or later, professors are going to assign textbooks are ps files to download and the publishers are going to go. Not needed in the college textbooks scene at all.

          Don't know about other kind of books. But, I can't remember the last book that I bought that wasn't a college textbook.

          • And it should be pointed out that many professors are going the way of generating a full set of course notes for their class which fully covers the material at hand. Then, rather than having a set text book, they sell the lecture note set to the class for $20 (or whatever your going rate is). This is especially prevalent in many of the math classes I've taken.
          • by rmcd (53236) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @05:49PM (#5090297)
            Well, as the recent author of a "ridiculously-priced" textbook, let me disagree.

            Yes, I used the manuscript in class, so many mistakes were caught in advance. Yes, I submitted in LaTeX (the publisher wanted Word, LaTeX was my choice).

            However, there is a *huge* difference from a student perspective (I know, I had to read the complaints) between a manuscript where many of the mistakes have been caught and one where almost all have been caught. In my case many got caught by the publisher, who found and engaged high quality people whose job was to go over every page and check the examples and cross references, etc. Students simply aren't sure when it is a mistake and when they don't understand something. The published book also looks a heck of a lot better than my .pdf manuscript. Maybe this matters more than it should, but it matters.

            Finally, marketing. I was sort of assuming that if my book was high quality it would sell itself, since the market is well-defined. It doesn't. I've discovered that a lot of potential adopters are uncertain about some of the things I've done differently. The publisher's marketing efforts provide a channel through which I can make my case.

            So I don't feel abused. I feel that the publisher added significant value and committed real resources. I know that not all authors feel this way, but I do.
          • by kalidasa (577403) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @06:04PM (#5090430) Journal

            And, what do the editors do?

            Developmental editing (telling the author "this is the sort of thing you need to be discussing here," "this really isn't necessary here"), production editing (everything people complain about on Slashdot: "you don't know the difference between a plural and a singular, do you?" to "this is actually a condition contrary to fact, so you should use the subjunctive in the protasis and the indicative in the apodosis" to "I know they use single quotes in England, but we follow the Chicago Manual"), imprint (this book is good enough to be called an Oxford University Press book), and marketing.

            First of all, they demand that the textbook be submitted in Tex (so all typesetting is done).

            Most publishers don't do that. Sure, some of the fly by nighters do, and some in the sciences, but most commercial publishers don't.

            Second, a preliminary copy of the book would have been used in a professor's class (so it would have 99% of the mistakes weeded out).

            Yeah, my Calc professor did a great job with that... he couldn't even spell the title of the textbook right. And it was his text book. No, I won't say the title, but it was two words one would think any mathematician could spell.

            Now, if you could come up with some alternative financing for the developmental and production editing, and for the acquisitions editing, so that the everything but the marketing could be done in an open manner (free as in freedom), I'd be for that.

        • by Morgaine (4316) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @05:02PM (#5090013)
          This is funny, since I actually agreed with you in part, namely that there can be a lot of work involved in publishing. However, you missed entirely (or ignored willfully) the point being made, that without content you have nothing.

          Then you point out even more heatedly just how much extra work is performed by the publisher ... while missing the insight that it's largely makework, either not essential or in very many cases capable of being done by the author. Furthermore, your contribution is undoubtedly the key reason why the end price is so high (the costs of an organization are always much higher than those of the author), as others have pointed out.

          Finally, you point out that in some cases the publishing house actually creates the work, perhaps through doing the research, bringing together articles or authors, and so on. This is excellent ... you have become the AUTHOR. But don't confuse that situation with the normal one, where you are primarily a middleman dealing in presentation and marketing, no more. That can be a useful function function, in some cases, but extending its importance beyond that is flawed.
      • without the content, the publisher has nothing

        It's symbiotic.

        Without the publisher, the content never gets seen. And, don't give me crap about "the Internet will fix all that". There will always have to be some sort of moderator.

        Ever watch American Idol? Remember the hundreds or thousands of really really bad singers that never make first cut?

        That's the real world, baby. Without "assholes" like Simon that crap would pollute our airwaves, and lead to a general disregard for "art".

        For an example of unmoderated content, go to mp3.com and listen to a "rock music" playlist. At least 3 of 4 songs are pure crap - some guy playing a flea-market keyboard in "auto chord" mode with one finger singing in a flat tone a song made up moments before, and recorded (hissy, mono) on a flea-market battery powered tapedeck.

        Yes. Really. That bad. Songs like "You used me like a potato" which laughingly became part of our family culture for a while as very possibly the worst song ever recorded.

        They're starting to charge their "content providers" a bit which will probably weed a lot of this out, but still provides no assurances that somebody with a bit of money to burn (there are plenty) won't produce a ton of worthless crap that you have to listen to before filtering it out in your playlist.

        A middleman is necessary and it isn't wrong to compensate him/her/them/it for the service provided. However, the jury's still out pending a workable method for doing so on the Internet.

        If MP3.com were to put in a moderation system by category, something like /dork uses, it could have a chance at pummeling the music industry. However, being owned now by Bertelsmann means this isn't all that likely.

        Anyone with a few bucks want to give it a whirl? I could design the underlying algorithm and get a decent site up within a few months, using technology like swarmcast [sourceforge.net] or bit torrent [uiuc.edu] to minimize the hosting costs and/or allow third parties to post their tunes.

        -Ben
        • > Ever watch American Idol? Remember the hundreds or
          > thousands of really really bad singers that never
          > make first cut?
          >
          > That's the real world, baby. Without "assholes"
          > like Simon that crap would pollute our airwaves,
          > and lead to a general disregard for "art".

          Unlike the general disregard today?

          You underestimate the 'general public'. Most folk I've met are quite capable of disambiguating unfiltered 'content' and filtered content.

          What really disillusions folk is when the filtered content is crap - like most mainstream CD's for instance.

          I expect that given the choice of filtering their own content, or only choosing from *badly* pre-filtered content, folk will choose to filter their own, in order to actually find something good.

          Thus unfiltered content will not lead to a general disregard for art - we already have that.
      • "While there is some truth in that of course, it is only part of the truth. The much larger truth is that without the content, the publisher has nothing, ZERO, zilch."

        Sorry, but that depends entirely on the 'publisher' in question. The RIAA, for example, got around this nasty problem by conglomerating many companies into one 'Association' and then making it cumpolsory for content creators to sign over their works in exchange for publication, thus making the publishers the temporary 'owners' of the content, and the associated revenue. Lawrence Lessig, in The Future of Ideas quoted the founder of MP3.com (whom I forget-but is now at Lindows) who was barraged by RIAA types who could not understand why MP3.com did not demand ownership of new artist's works before 'publishing' the music. The quote (paraphrased from memory) was something like:

        "Why are you helping the next Madonna without owning the next Madonna first?!"

        You are correct in saying that the the middleman should be put back in his/her place, but they have a lot more clout -- reference MP3.com's collapse...

        ---rhad

      • The publishers are not just middlemen. They are the primary risk takers. Yes, an author may spend a couple months writing the book, but he either lacks the financial resources or is unwilling to commit them to promote, publish, and sell his book. So while the author takes risk, perhaps relatively great personal risk, and while they are necessary, it is very far from sufficient. The publishers make a real effort to actually sell the book, to get it placed in shelves, to get ad time, etc. A good number of their efforts fail, but some succeed. This is why the publishers are able to command such an apparently large premiums for what they do. If all they did was merely stick their stamp of approval on it, then you'd have a million other parties, whether that be the authors themselves or other sizable companies, moving in for a piece of the action. Part of the way that they survive and part of their function is by selecting works that are more apt to succeed on the market (so that they can maximize their profits). It may not be perfect, but it's nonetheless necessary.

        This is not to say that there are not other possible methods that could eventually replace them, but it is foolish and wrong to ignore what they do. If you have a good working alternative, then I (and I suspect most others) would encourage you to go ahead with it. However, what many so-called artists on slashdot ask is downright irrational; they want to tear down the only thing that works, however imperfect it may be, without even offering a realistic alternative solution and certainly not proving its efficacy.

        You know what? If the publish are unnecessary and are just middlemen, then go around them, for christssake, and create a better system. If they're as unessential as you claim then surely their returns will eventually reflect this. THAT is the way capitalism works, not legislation and braindead protests.
        • The publishers are not just middlemen. They are the primary risk takers.
          You're right. As the author of a self-published textbook [lightandmatter.com], the one thing I really missed about not having a publisher was not having someone to lay out the cash for printing. The other stuff wasn't a big deal -- desktop publishing software has really made a lot of the publisher's traditional functions irrelevant, provided you're willing to study up on book design and work hard at creating a professional-looking product.

          You should keep in mind, however, that the economics of publishing have changed, and are going to keep on changing. Although print on demand still hasn't really become viable, technology now makes it much more practical to print small numbers of books. My first press run was 250, and now I'm doing printings of 1000. Because these numbers are small, the financial burden of paying for printing really isn't such a crushing one. Yes, if my sales grew by another order of magnitude, then we'd be talking big bucks --- but please bite me with that problem!

          Promotion? Well, doing promotion the traditional way is indeed extremely expensive. You have to hire salespeople. In my market (college textbooks), you have to send out free review copies to professors. But promotion no longer has to be that expensive. Basically I just try to drive traffic to my web site, where teachers who are interested download the book. This costs me peanuts in webhosting costs. I do a little bit of advertising in a trade magazine (The Physics Teacher), but it's still not that expensive. Of course, if you want people to beat a path to your door, your mousetrap does have to be better, not worse...

          If the publish are unnecessary and are just middlemen, then go around them, for christssake, and create a better system.
          Yep, that's what a lot of authors are doing now [theassayer.org].

    • Making a book even once an author has completed the manuscript is still time consuming and difficult--not just sending it to the press and saying 'done!'

      But with the internet, 'publishing' my blog entry is just as easily as sending it to my server and saying 'done!'. As content creators start to funnel their shit, as the article suggests, towards the internet instead of dead trees it will become much easier for the authors themselves to do.

      • No offense to you (I don't even know if you have a blog), but a blog does not a book make, and most blogs are CRAP in my experience (not saying there aren't some good ones). I think people are taking the analogy of blog book too far..blog diary, maybe.

        Besides...most authors do like to make some money of their works so that they can do what they like to do, and blogs aren't to conducive to those means.
    • I would say that instead of sewage, authors (anyone who is creating something) often produce the raw ingredients for a meal--and it is the publisher who "cooks" the meal.

      That's WAY overstating the role of the publisher.

      The author creates, the publisher applies some final polish and does the gift wrapping. If you really insist on a restaurant metaphor, the author makes the dish and the publisher arranges it on a plate and adds a sprig of parsley on the side.

      And, of course, that's only concerning literature. In things like music or painting the publisher has even less input into the final product.

      Publishers are needed, no question about it, but saying that they actually "cook the meal" is absurd, IMHO.

      • Yeah, you're right, it is overstating the role of the publisher..It was the best I could come up with on short notice :)

        But I do think your analogies, UNDERstate the role. I know it was suprising to me how much publishers actually DO do (such as sometimes it is the publisher who comes up with an idea for a book, and then searches out an author capable of writing such). interesting stuff.

        Anyway, you're also perfectly right about music etc, I'm no RIAA et al fan.
      • Publishers are needed, no question about it, but saying that they actually "cook the meal" is absurd, IMHO.

        Oddly enough, a cooking analogy makes sense. The artists is the chef; the publisher is the restaurant.
    • Re:Sewage?? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bcrowell (177657)
      To anyone who says publishers aren't needed, I'd advise them to try a job at a publishing shop for a short time, and see how they like the work.
      I say publishers aren't needed, and I have done publishing work. Specifically, I've self-published some of my own books [lightandmatter.com]. I have pretty decent sales. (It's a textbook, and it's been adopted [lightandmatter.com] by a bunch of schools. The digital version is a free download, and I sell printed copies.) I'm not trying to blow my own horn. I just want to point out that this is a counterexample to your argument.

      The article is correct about the necessity for filtering. However, he makes some strange assumptions about how filtering can happen. He only offers two options: traditional filtering (filtering by the publisher before distribution) or some kind of vaguely imagined bayesian filtering.

      What makes more sense, IMO, is that content should get filtered, but after distribution, by readers. To see an example of how that can work, see my sig.

    • To anyone who says publishers aren't needed, I'd advise them to try a job at a publishing shop for a short time, and see how they like the work.

      They're not.

      Editors, typesetters, and printers are--but not publishers. They're just the ones with the money and the sales acumen.

      Everything needs polishing up, but the bulk of any creative work that worth the money is in the artist themselves; if not, then the bloomin' editor should be writing the books themselves, and getting all the credit and all the money.

      Of course, the number of people needed only inrcreases the further we get aweay from paint-on-canvass. Authors need typesetters and proofreaders and editors. Video game progammers need coders and coders and coders. And musicians need sound technicians and someone who understands the best ways to get the sound and energy of a live performance onto tape/CD.

      My manuscript is done. I need an agent, a printer, a marketer, an editor, and a typesetter. The first one I might be able to find on my own--but the last four I'm going to need to go through a publisher for unless I suddenly win the lottery.
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:13PM (#5089284) Journal
    Bill Finklebork thinks the donut he bought this morning might have been a day-old, it tasted a little stale. He also thinks that someone should be airing Beavis & Butthead in syndication.

    Truly this is important to us all, as it affects society at it's very core.
  • by kefoo (254567)
    ...filter out the drivel that many content creators produce

    There goes most of what the major record labels produce.
  • by Mantrid (250133) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:16PM (#5089304) Journal
    The author of the article seems to think that Bayesian filters are going to change everything and become the personal editors/publishers of tommorrow. Is the technology really that promising? (not a rhetorical question by the way...)

    (Ironically though, the author is assuming that his own writing isn't crap)
    • His writing goes past a filter/editor before getting tossed up on the website, I'll wager.
    • Or perhaps he just realises that his work is crap before being edited by the guy his online publisher supplies, and just assumes that he is the best writer out there so everyone else must be the same. I mean seriously, the guy wants to read all the news on the Middle East, but not any of the jokes that get sent him? No wonder he's so goddamned sour.

      He's just trolling--he completely misrepresents the goals of Creative Commons in the most unabashed way, and as someone mentioned previously, it looks almost like he's just trying to gain notoriety on Slashdot by using specific keywords and techniques.

      • Heh, so he's created a "Bayesian Push Filter" for /.? Better get a patent on that process!! Hmmm that's all we need - picture a Bayesian filter app, built with spyware that sends its info back to homebase, so they can sell spammers ways to trick us into reading their spam!

    • by philovivero (321158) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:11PM (#5089687) Homepage Journal
      The author of the article seems to think that Bayesian filters are going to change everything and become the personal editors/publishers of tommorrow. Is the technology really that promising? (not a rhetorical question by the way...)
      No, they are not that good.

      While Bayesian filters will tell me that Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom [craphound.com] (a book you can find online and read today) isn't a vampire story, and thus can avoid showing it to me when I want to read a vampire story, it won't tell me which of the three are best:

      1. Interview with the Vampire
      2. From Dusk 'til Dawn
      3. Queen of the Damned
      I want some computer to go out, check those three movies, and tell me which one is a gem and which two are crap.

      Interview with the Vampire touched on emotions, morals, dilemmas, and was an epic story covering hundreds of years, and was extremely well-done in cinematography, and Anne Rice said it was a very good end product.

      The other two? Well, watch them. Tell me a Bayesian filter would be smart enough to differentiate the three. They couldn't, especially since I would include that I like Quentin Tarantino (he was in Dusk-->Dawn) or that I like to see nude women (Queen of the Damned, although I haven't actually watched it, supposedly has some good nudity). My Bayesian filter would definitely waste my time.

      The only hope is for a trust system, actually, not unlike that proposed by Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom [craphound.com]. Some way to find out which of the three movies were liked by people whose opinions I respect.


    • Not only that, but Bayesian methods can't tell you anything in a vacuum - you need input data to seed the system, and that means human evaluation. The question is whether that human is going to be an executive or you guys. In this light, it's interesting that companies like Amazon.com have invested an awful lot of money, time and trouble trying to make their web sites use "the customer"'s opinions in place of their own.

      I haven't made up my mind yet whether or not he's right. One side of me thinks him a pompous ass for trying to say others should be making my decisions for me. The other side says I don't enough time to get my laundry properly, let alone dig through the collected works of 1500 separate jazz trios to find one that kicks ass. Tech has given us is freedoms we didn't have 10 years ago, and parts of the system are going to change as a result - which direction and how much are going to be decided by the market: If we decide the executives opinions are useless, we will stop buying their reccomendations and they will go away.

    • by costas (38724) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @07:01PM (#5090746) Homepage
      (plug alert)

      I deploy Bayesian systems for a living. Bayesian systems are optimizers, not decision-makers. In other words, if you give enough information to a Bayesian system and tell it to make simple enough decisions (spam/not-spam, too-high/too-low) it can and it can do it very well.

      However, Bayesian and most computational filters cannot replace human decision-making, especially when we deal with completely subjective decisions (like/not-like) that are dependent on many factors.

      Collaborative filtering is a much better approach in this case, as it is human decisions that are aggregated and crunched, not contextual. Check out my toy newsbot [memigo.com] that tries to do exactly that.
  • Eeek, I thought the quote was "Content is King", not "Content is Crap" ...

    Then again...
    Britney
    N' Sync

    maybe that's right.

  • by Otter (3800) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:19PM (#5089333) Journal
    (My favorite part of Tech Central Station is the author pictures. They're like those tech books, WROX, I think, with the author photos on the cover that look _exactly_ like you'd expect the authors of "SOAP, COM and ASP with XML and XSLT" to look. The TCS authors look exactly like the nerdy, 30-40-something fire-breathing libertarians I'd imagine them as. Of course, their work and tax money make it possible for people with better haircuts to tell us what to do, so I feel guilty making fun of them.)

    Anyhow, while I think he's right to object to the notion that publishers are simply vampires extorting money from noble artists, it's extremely incomplete to say that they're valuable primarily as filters. They do add value that way, but that's the role that's the easiest for the public to fill.

    The more important things they do are developing and polishing musicians, editing books, creating the financial and organizational infrastructure to make major movies. His plan does nothing to address that.

    • value (Score:3, Interesting)

      by simpl3x (238301)
      the publisher take such a huge portion of the final value, that one has to beg the question, why? of course warner brothers creates value, but in my opinion, drag city creates more value, because they show me things that warner brothers never will. why? because they are operating on a mass produced, scarcity driven idealogy. we do want filters, we just don't want smart-ass filters that take over the primary asset and make extraordinary demands. there are new filters being born. and they will change the market in unanticipated ways. copy right is simply being used by the old manufacturers and distributors to retain their market. this is wrong! but, as another poster has commented, the work supplied by the "arstist" is rarely the finished work! thoughts?
  • It is indeed unique to see admidst all the bashing of RIAA and MPAA to see somebody actually admit that publishers have a value add.

    Now maybe they need to find a business model for how to provide that content that doesn't rely on the media itself, but there are a lot of firms having trouble finding a viable business model in this age (such as the previous story on Mandrake

    The author's notion that what is really needed is a better search engine is, however naieve. Sure you might find something that is going to be able to filter through just jokes and stories on the mideast, but is it going to really be able, in the reasonable future, to be ablt to find you just the funny jokes or and unbiased stories about the mideast with new information?

    Actually being able to filter out the crap would be very valuable for blogs as well.

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s1r_m1xalot (218277) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:20PM (#5089342)

    Does anyone else think it's ironic that Kling insists that content is alike to raw sewage in a blog?

    And if your average professionally produced content is sewage, than whomever is hosting Jenny Teenager's blog has the cyber equivilant of Yucca Mountain

    • Yes, it is ironic, and like many other bloggers -- including but by no means limited to the right-wing blog echo chamber -- his argument fails to hold any water because he's confusing two completely different concepts.

      First, he assumes that Creative Commons is about cutting out the publishers. In some cases, it's about online distribution -- and the popularity of meta-blogs and sites like slashdot proves that there is both demand *and* supply for some editing, indexing, and review of online information. In addition, Lessig has support for some of his projects from people whose works are formally published, including O'Reilly using his 14-year "founder's copyright".

      But even a cursory review of his site shows the real purpose is to empower people (whether it's foolish or not, it is giving people a choice) with licenses that are carefully legally reviewed, by a lawyer (very hard for an individual to get), to have something other than full, all-rights-reserved copyright on their works. Sort of like the GPL, really, and it's hard to argue that hasn't been a success for at least some projects.

      From his site [creativecommons.org]: "...creative works are now automatically copyrighted. We believe that many people would not choose this "copyright by default" if they had an easy mechanism for turning their work over to the public or exercising some but not all of their legal rights. It is Creative Commons' goal to help create such a mechanism."

  • Nice Strawman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nurlman (448649) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:21PM (#5089350)
    From Kling's piece:

    The Commons enthusiasts believe that content publishers earn their profits by using copyright law to steal content from its creators and charge extortionary prices to consumers.

    This is the central premise that underlies the rest of his article, and without it, his rant makes no sense. However, beyond stating the premise, he offers nothing to support the argument that the purpose of Creative Commons is to purposefully hamstring publishers.

    From my understanding of CC, quite the opposite is the case. If a publisher is interested in distributing your work, you're going to enter into negotiations and ultimately issue a license to that publisher on the terms you agree on. The CC license has no bearing on this transaction.

    The CC license is more about protecting the authors whose work doesn't attract the interest of traditional publishers (because the work is not polished, not economically viable, whatever), but which contains material that someone else desires to use or re-publish. Through the CC license, the author can set the terms upon which the work may be used without having to personally negotiate those terms with anyone and everyone who would like to use it.

    Kling's premise is a strawman-- people don't use the CC license to do an end-run around publishers; they use it because publishers aren't interested (or because the author is not interested in dealing with a publisher).
    • Re:Nice Strawman (Score:4, Insightful)

      by blamanj (253811) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:39PM (#5089461)
      his rant makes no sense

      Bingo. Your description of the CC license is far more coherent. Kling is completely confused, and the idea that you could train a Baysian filter to select good content from bad is laughable.

      Of course publishers serve a purpose. But the publishing world, just to give one example, is littered with books that were refused by 20 publishers before they were eventually picked up.

      He's correct in that CC does no content filtering, but that's not the point of CC, as you succintly note.
    • Re:Nice Strawman (Score:3, Insightful)

      by urbazewski (554143)
      his rant makes no sense

      Exactly. He seems incapable of, or unwilling to, separate out what the CC license actually is from the dire consequences he invents to maximize the outrage caused by his troll.

      A similar argument can be made against literacy itself: if you give people the means to read and write, they will just produce a huge stream of crap. Instead, why not have large organizations decide what's worth writing and what's worth reading?

      If Kling is right that publishers are essential, then CC is no threat --- people will be willing to pay for filtering or editing or marketing and publishers will do just fine. It's ironic that supporters of "free markets" (judging from the tagline on the website) feel so threatened by an initiative to expand the choice set of both content producers and content. consumers.

      annmariabell.com [annmariabell.com]

    • Re: Nice Strawman (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bloody Peasant (12708) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:21PM (#5089754) Homepage
      The CC license is more about protecting the authors whose work doesn't attract the interest of traditional publishers (because the work is not polished, not economically viable, whatever)...

      In my experience (and I have an interest in a small publisher [coachlightpress.com]), most mainstream (read: large, established, monolithic) publishers are rejecting work because it doesn't conform to a rather dull, stale, old recipe. And much of what they do publish is very definitely "not polished" and quite often not economically viable. For books, the editing process seems to have been horribly compromised, probably because of cost cutting.

      In My Humble Opinion, it's the mainstream content publishers that are using spin doctors to belittle and demean the concept of a Creative Commons. It's in their selfish (and greedy) interests to do so. Those of us interested in the CC should ignore them and get on with what we want to do!

  • by revision1_1 (69575) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:22PM (#5089356) Homepage
    One guy is dumping on some other user-content thingie, run by some other guys who've responded in their blogs, and the first guy has answered back...in his own blog. And the whole thing is framed in a sewage-sort-of-metaphor.



    Two words: Circle. Jerk.

  • Meta-blog (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrWa (144753)
    So is Slashdot becoming a meta-blog?
  • by Hayzeus (596826) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:23PM (#5089366) Homepage
    I think the role of the publisher (at least in the case of tech books) has been overstated. We were published by a major house (McGraw-Hill), and their role has been limited essentially to cover artwork and marketing. Not to knock the importance of marketing, but there it is.

    On the other hand, we were entirely responsible for all artwork, text, and any major editing.

    An outside compositor was hired (at MH's expense) to do layout and a bit of editing, although this was done working closely with us, and was primarily related to missing figures, a bit of proofreading, etc. The bottom line is that had we been willing to do the work of the compositor, which was basically formatting, we wouldn't have needed the publisher at all to produce the final content. Even the actual printing is contracted out.

    In our case, it is the publishers primary job to market the book, not to tweak the content.

  • by timothy (36799) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:24PM (#5089374) Homepage Journal
    Like the FOX Network.

    timothy
  • Haha ha (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BlackHat (67036)
    Filters!

    These filters are why most if not near all of editorial cartoonists are white male 25-55. These "filters" are why many of the people here are here and not reading Main-stream-content.

    The whole bunch of these fools think that there is some Content-Value in the control of the media. Some how the exclusion of some parts is enhancing the parts they let you see. That their view of what is good and bad is Added-Value. I am not so sure they do add anything. Nor do I think that never allowing the bad-stuff to be seen will do anything but obscure the contrast.

    Imagine sports where we only get to watch only the winner play alone.
    • These filters are why most if not near all of editorial cartoonists are white male 25-55.

      They aren't. You see editorial cartoonists in most international papers. So probably most editorial cartoonists are Asian males. What you probably meant is that most editorial cartoonists for US mainstream papers... in which case they probably reflect who applies for the job.


      These "filters" are why many of the people here are here and not reading Main-stream-content.


      Absolutely; the people here want a different filter. The same way classical radio stations filter differently than pop radio stations who filter differently than comedy stations.

      Nor do I think that never allowing the bad-stuff to be seen will do anything but obscure the contrast. Imagine sports where we only get to watch only the winner play alone.

      Pretty much that is another set of filters. The best high school players play for college they get filtered again to be on good teams and get filtered again to make the pros and get filtered again for field time. The result is that the sports people watch involve only "the winners".

      In sports the filtering is much more drastic than in books or music.

  • He's right, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:37PM (#5089449)


    > He compares artists' works to, well, raw sewage that publishers filter into something that can be later consumed by the public.

    Yeah, but when the publisher in question is the RIAA they filter out all the good stuff and pass all the lip-sync dance-sync boy-band crap on to the consumer.

  • I'd agree with Kline on one hand that Sturgeon's Law is being enforced - 90 percent of everything is crap. [suite101.com]

    However, the notion that publishers are filtering with my best interests in mind is also part of that 90 percent.Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [fair.org]

    And beyond that even, I'd have to say that one man's treasure is another man's garbage. [slashdot.org]

  • Not being a legal beagle type, how is Creative Commons any different than the GNU license? I realize the former is for posts/articles and other blogish content, and the later for software, but aren't they essentially the same thing. Or am I missing something big (and legal) here?
  • by wunderhorn1 (114559) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:45PM (#5089499) Homepage
    1. It's likely that a given piece of Creative Commons content is going to be crap because 90% of everything is crap (this is known as Sturgeon's Law, BTW).
    2. Content intermediaries produce mediocre results, but it's still better than crap.
    3. Maybe the answer is not to guarantee that there is free crap available, but to offer a way to filter out the crap, without having to pay a middleman.
    Makes more sense now?
  • by Omega (1602) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @03:51PM (#5089534) Homepage
    Perhaps Mr. Kling hasn't ready anything on the Creative Commons project. I think one of the best features the Creative Commons offers is simplifications of user agreements.

    Essentially all the parts of a user agreement are reduced to a set of easily recognizable icons/keywords (from a set of 10) which detail what copyrights and licenses and granted and reserved under the agreement. So when you visit a website or buy a software package, instead of reading 30 pages of EULA's (which no one does anyway) and clicking "I Agree," you will see a set of Icons/Keywords which abbreviate the agreement so you can Agree/Decline. The legal elements represented by the agreement icons/keywords are universal -- so the icons ($), (=), etc means the same thing for every user agreement regardless of content provider. Providers can customize their agreements by choosing a set of icons which best represents what licenses they want to reserve and which ones they want to grant. Users benefit because they only need to read the text of the 10 possible licenses for a possible infinite number of service/content providers.

    The argument, "Sure I clicked agree, but I didn't read it," is becoming more and more compelling to courts and shrink wrap licenses are becoming endangered of being ruled invalid because they are not easily accessible. By following the creative commons model, providers can be protected because they follow a universal license model that can be easily recognized and understood by users. Likewise, users can know everything they are agreeing to because the provider can't sneak spying provisions into the CC licenses and still represent the license with the CC icons.

    Btw, I love it when some sniveling, little Reagan-ite calls constitutionally guaranteed freedom and liberty "60's era" or "naive." What they're really saying is "Sure, liberty sounds good...But facism and elitism just make more sense in modern society."

  • Why so bitter? (Score:4, Informative)

    by madgeorge (632496) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:04PM (#5089631)

    Did CC piss on Kling's lawn, or what? Why so bitter? I can understand the argument defending the role of publishers to some extent, but in reality too much is "filtered". If we left it up to the big, commercial publishers Einstein would never have amounted to anything. More Danielle Steele, please!

    That being said, I'm still trying to figure out why defending publishers requires attacking a project like Creative Commons. Yeah, the 5 million personal sites proclaiming "Hey, my name is Dorky McDork I like Satr Wars email me if you liek movies, two! LOL)LL" do kinda suck. But the need for search and filtering tools again is no reason to trash a project like CC [creativecommons.org] that is "designed to help expand the amount of intellectual work, whether owned or free, available for creative re-use." How is this a bad thing?

    But I preach to the choir. I need to copy this into an email to Kling.

    --madgeorge

  • Well, his article is crap, too, so that's why I didn't read it. ;)

    It may be true for writing, but it's definitely not true for music: for several years I've been having a great time downloading self-published music from mp3.com. Believe me, there's no sewage filter here, but that doesn't mean I'm not able to find stuff that I like fairly easily. It's great that these are real people, doing it for the love of it, and that you can have discussions and collaborations with them. Really refreshing. (It also feels a lot better than buying from the RIAA!) Of course, making my own [tom7.org] music is a good way to have music that I like, and that some other people might by chance like, too. Seriously, if it meant the end of commercial radio and professional "artists," hell, sign me up.

    This whole thing reminds me eerily of the academic publishing industry's claim that we as researchers need them in order to survive. (So sign over those copyrights!) Of course, with the internet we no longer need journals and conference proceedings to get access to papers, and with the recent academic scandals involving forged results, it's not clear that the peer review system is working particularly well, either.
  • He's mostly right...mosty of what comes out is crap. It just stands to reason (and empirical evidence :) ).

    But what he's missing is that some of it is good, or even great. And even what's crap can spark something great in someones brain.
    Sounds something like the current media, doesn't it? And it's free, and open to derivative work which can supercede the original in quality, to boot.
  • by g4dget (579145) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:21PM (#5089756)
    There are many approaches to text filtering and classification. Bayesian methods are just one of them. Latent Semantic Analysis and related techniques, for example, are not directly motivated by Bayesian considerations. Seems like this guy has heard a big-sounding buzzword once and is now parading it around as the solution to all our woes.

    For the kind of "raw sewage" Kling produces, we don't need a Bayesian filter to detect it--it stinks enough without it.

  • Reviews! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by robson (60067) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:21PM (#5089757)
    I agree with him in one sense... not that content is crap, and not with his overall tone or message, but that there is significant value in the filtering process. Not corporate filtering, or automated filtering, but review-based filtering.

    I've thought for a long time now that, with advances in technology (home-studio-produced music, professional-quality DV software on PCs, etc.), and with advances in distribution (the Internet), we're moving into a different sort of creative "space" where anyone who wants to make art can make art, and have it be seen by anyone. That's unbelievably cool, but it makes "consumption" more difficult, as it's much harder to find work that interests you.

    The solution is reviews. Preferably from as many sources as possible. I see us in a situation where we actively pick reviewers whose taste matches ours, and who gain our trust. These are our filters. This already exists in the medium of web sites -- what are Slashdot, MetaFilter, Plastic, and K5, among many others? They're filters for web content. We don't have time to scour the entire web every day for pages that interest us, so we go sites who've obtained our trust, and we let them filter this content.
  • by crazyphilman (609923) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:24PM (#5089780) Journal
    As I read his love-letter to the publishing industry, which basically said that the output of authors, artists, et al was "crap" which was then filtered by value-adding publishers (Puh-LEASE), I couldn't help but think that if these publishers were any good at filtering crap, we would never have heard of Mr. Kling in the first place.

    I like the idea of a creative commons, though. Kudos to the crew that created it.
  • "Arnold Kling, in his article, Content is Crap, writes, snip.

    Then does this mean that the drivel he produces is to be flushed down the toilet? Arnold Kling is a nobody trying to be a somebody by stirring up controversy, rather than contributing or creating something new. If content is crap then is he the sphincter?

    And trying to filter it out by blogs? Spare me.

    Pentagon Seeks Robots-Prize is $1 Million [xnewswire.com]

  • maybe this story should be called 'Crapping Over Creative Commons'
  • Assuming that Bayesian filters are really suitable for this kind of content filtering, and seeing how often they're mentioned on slashdot, maybe we could use Bayesian filters to rank comments here.

    There's certainly enough sewage here to make it worthwhile...

  • by pr0t0plasm (183810) <pr0t0plasm@noSPam.luckymud.org> on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @04:51PM (#5089948) Homepage
    The influence of publichers over content is not an entirely bad thing, as Kling points out. However, the substantial influence that publishers have over content can be and is abused, especially due to the incentive for publishers to steer the content market toward material it can cheaply, easily publish. This seems more intuitive in music than in writing, but I think it applies in both arenas: crap is easy to find, so if you can popularize crap, you don't have to invest in cultivating relationships with producers, you can just find some hack to fill out the formula and pass the savings on to the customer. The trouble is that rather than charge extra for the good stuff to offset the extra cost of development and promotion, many publishers offer uniform pricing and choose not to distribute material requiring a harder sell.

    Kling manages to miss that that last sentence is what the CC aims to address. If that undercuts publishers, they have no one to blame but themselves.
  • When the distribution is expensive, then you filter the crap before the distribution. However, these filters always cost an unknown quantity more than their operating cost: they have false-positives in their crap-detectors and false-negatives in their goodsuff-detectors. I think its just a corollary of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (entropy), but The law of Leaky Abstractions [joelonsoftware.com] (discussion [slashdot.org]) applies here also. In other words: Bayesian filters aren't much better than a bunch of publishers. Any publisher's experience of a work must be abstracted, and that abstraction is a function of that publisher's genetics and environment. It leaks at the "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" point, and thus some crap will be suffered by the consumers, and some priceless work will be lost forever because it is mistaken for crap. A lot of other stuff in between can end up in the wrong pile as the publishers sort things out.

    Publishers are weak, unreliable (even at their best) arbiters of quality, which is why we need a lot of them. Some might say, the more the better. In a world where all authors can be publishers, and some non-authors can be publishers, the number of publishers can exceed the number of works being published at one time. That doesn't solve the problem, but it DOES keep it from getting completely out of hand to the point where consumers' opinions (crap vs. not-crap) are insignificant. If publishing is cheap, then the hidden costs are the big cost factor!

  • by lostboy2 (194153) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @05:00PM (#5089991)
    I admit I did not sift through the articles and blogs, but I very much disagree with Kling's arguments.

    First, he suggests that CC and publishers cannot co-exist, that the media world is not big enough for the two of them. I disagree with this notion.

    Unless I've missed something, CC does not preclude authors from having their works filtered and distributed by publishers, it just gives them another alternative. Moreover, it gives authors who are ignored by publishers a means to protect their works and seek other distribution methods.

    Secondly, Kling's quote
    "...publishers are adding value, not simply stealing. They add value by filtering out content that people do not want..."
    is highly presumptuous. First, how do the publishers know what I do not want? They've never asked me! But more importantly, it is this attitude that causes publishers to cater to the lowest common denominator -- to distribute only what they think a sizable percentage of the population would like. Without options like CC, works by authors and artists that the publishers deem "crap" might never be available.

    I myself read a lot of comic books and zines. Personally, I LIKE independent press works and go out of my way to find them. Some of the most interesting stuff I've found has been created and distributed by the author/artist on a shoe-string budget (photocopied on plain paper, folded down the middle and stapled once).

    I disagree that such things are crap, just because they aren't on glossy paper, with airbrushed technocolor, aren't produced by one of the brand name publishers (Marvel, DC, Image, etc.), etc.

    Yes, there is a lot of crap out there too, but I'd like to be able to judge for myself, rather than leave that decision up to people whose opinions clearly differ from my own.

  • by richieb (3277) <richieb@gmaBLUEil.com minus berry> on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @05:03PM (#5090021) Homepage Journal
    Even, if it is not crap, it's not king. I found this article quite pursusive: Content is not king [firstmonday.dk]

  • by KjetilK (186133) <kjetil@NoSPam.kjernsmo.net> on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @05:06PM (#5090046) Homepage Journal
    I just posted this comment to his comments section: I think that what you completely fail to think about is that the only thing that is changing, is that publishers do not anymore have a veto.

    Certainly, literary critics will become more important in the future. Those people adding value by aiding people in finding the gems and improving writing of the writers are not going to disappear. No, they will obviously become more important as the amount of stuff increases.

    But they do not anymore have a veto, as publishers had before. That's the only real difference.

  • by cyberon22 (456844) on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @05:14PM (#5090093)
    I highly doubt this guy has ever read Lessig, or even understands what he means by a "creative commons".

    Traditional economic arguments in favor of IPR assert that without them there will be no good content in the first place, since authors have little incentive to produce work.

    But if ALL "content is crap", there is no justification for intellectual property protection in the first place. If the world gets BAD content by paying for it, and BAD content by not paying for it, the economically optimal solution is to have BAD content for FREE!

    The discussion of Bayesian networks is completely irrelevant since what is at stake is a more fundamental assertion about how and why individuals innovate.

    Score: Kling 0, Lessig 1.
  • Hate to point this out to him but the sewage treatment that the publishing corporations isn't working too well. Better call up the EPA because their treatment process is broken. There's way too much crap being released after they've supposed tidied it up for public consumption. IMHO, Kling has far too low of an opinion of the average person's abililty to perform their own filtering.

    If the stuff that I find in the local music store, or the video store, and, especially, what's being put on the airwaves is the pure stuff that's left over after the publishing houses have filtered out the crap then that pretty much explains the drop off in CD buying or TV viewership. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that of all the content that the 3-letter TV networks could have chosen to air, that, after all the valuable filtering we're so fortunate for them to have performed, the best they could come up with was ``reality TV''. Or yet another cop show. And, of course, people watch it... it's the only thing on most of the time. And the reason that my TV is rarely displaying anything but a rented (or purchased) video.

  • by asparagus (29121) <koonce@gmail . c om> on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @06:14PM (#5090491) Homepage Journal
    Flame [jpkoonce.net].

    You can check out some of my other raw crap here [universe42.com].

    -Brett
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 15, 2003 @07:01PM (#5090754) Homepage Journal
    If Creative Commons is so useless/pointless/stupid/whatever, why not let the market decide? It seems like this guy is just knifing the baby. Let's give CC some exposure and see if consumers (aka the public) and content producers (aka artists and writers) like the approach.

    Sharpshooting CC in its infancy makes me think this guy is just afraid of change.

    Who's afraid of the Creative Commons?

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