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Hi Rick,

As you know it isn't the size that counts; it's the quality (of one's audience, that is).

Let me stress how important it is that you are raising this topic, but I don't think just how essential the topic is to our economy is coming across. What we are really talking about, even if it's just rock and roll to you (and me), is the crux of the internet revolution as the means for distributing intellectual content. Potentially this is as revolutionary as the invention of the printing press, motion pictures, records, television, and radio combined, at least it revolutionizes the processing of all of these. How it is all going to get paid for, directly and indirectly by consumers, and how quality control and targeted promotion play out are issues that must be resolved. I think the quality control and "yenta" problems will take care of themselves over time (you aren't going to be able to sell your music if it is badly produced, even if it is potentially great stuff). But there is a bridge across a great chasm that remains unbuilt along the information superhighway, and that is insuring that content creators can get paid. I don't think we are going anywhere until that gets worked through.

Let me use myself as an example. I have a bunch of educational curriculum I've created over the years in my efforts, as a scholar, to work with teachers and childrens on topics about which I have expertise (I am one of a number of academics who decided we had to reach down to grade school education to improve the quality of students coming to college). This curriculum is aimed at a much higher intellectual level than what is typically available in grade school text books and work sheets, which means it has a limited market (unfortunately). For me to sell it to educational publishers, at least on contractual terms that would ever get me paid minimum wage for my efforts, is a virtual impossibility. For me to self-publish, in print form, is prohibitive, in terms of my up-front capital risks and time commitments for promotion. Web publishing, with minimal publishing costs and ease of distribution to a niche, broad word of mouth, consumer base is ideal. But, under current "easy to share" internet transmission (i.e., lack of copyright protection), it isn't worth it. So, my stuff is sitting, waiting for digital rights management to get into gear. And, I've stopped creating anything new. So, from my perspective, the "information wants to be free" anarchists have set back the opportunity for the internet to really open up the flow of quality intellectual content by about a decade. If they want to undermine the power of the big time publishing and recording industries, the starting point is protecting copyright, so people like me (and you) can compete with the big boys. Framing this as "privacy" and "fair use" are red herrings. The technology exists or can be developed to allow for a reasonable form of fair use (inevitably, somewhat modified from current fair use standards, but with the same, underlying, doctrine), and some kind of tracking to insure use is limited to fair use can be accomplished without destroying privacy—is the detector at the bookstore an invasion of my privacy?
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