Anyway, last week I actually stopped to read an article by Malcom Gladwell that caught my eye. Titled "Priced to Sell - Is Free The Future", it reviews the recent book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" by Chris Anderson and also addresses the basic premise behind it. He also recounts a story of the testimony of Dallas Morning News publisher James Moroney when he recently appeared before a congressional committee at a hearing in May. The story centers around negotiations with Amazon's Kindle for Dallas Morning News content. This is a story anyone associated with newspapers should read.
One of the driving forces in Anderson's book is the statement by Stewart Brand that "information wants to be free". My personal problem with this philosophy is that I draw a distinction between "information" and "entertainment". While I agree that information such as basic news like "There's a tornado coming - take shelter" should be free, many, many things on the internet do not fall into that category. Rather they are in the category of intellectual property I would classify as entertainment. Movies, columns, editorials, The Daily Show, comics, etc. are all entertainment and intellectual property. Just because consumers would like them to be free does not mean they should be. My kids would like it very much if the candy at our corner store was all free and they could gorge on it to their hearts' content. However, the candy is not free, and if my kids go help themselves, they will most definitely be prosecuted for shoplifting. There has to be a way to protect the creators of intellectual property as completely as we protect the retail industry.
Malcom Gladwell actually addresses this very succinctly - I hope you can find time to read the article.
And Mr. Mankoff - if you're reading, please give us more Piccolo cartoons :-)