If Google has its way, [the Authors' Guild] logic goes, we’ll lose control over who can copy our work, and we’ll lose sales. But Internet history proves the opposite is true. Any product that is more easily found online can be more easily sold.
True – any product that is more easily found online can be more easily sold. But this is not about sales. This is about copyright law. This is what seems to be the crux of so many arguments – the conflation of sales with law.
Again, I’m waiting for the Library of Congress and the US Copyright Office to jump in here, and so far, they haven’t.
Also in the Sunday NY Times, Randall Stross talks up AOL’s strengths, which can be summarized thusly: Lazy subscribers. Don’t want to give up that AOL email address….
At its membership core are the subscribers who chose the service because it made going online easy and insulated them from the unknown. These members have become comfortable where they are.
That will only take a company so far, frankly. Newspaper companies have been debating this for years, as more and more papers launch full-scale online presences…for free. Says Walker Lundy, formerly of the Philadelphia Inquirer, on Romenesko:
There’s an old expression that I think fits this situation; I think newspaper companies are eating their seed corn. I fear for their future because you just can’t save your way into profit increases every year. If you’re running a steak house, you still have to serve them steak.
One could say similar things about AOL. Until they offer something new, something that nobody else has, something that many people want, then they are…an also-ran. The rest is just creative accounting.