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FutureNow Post
Wednesday, Jun. 20, 2007 at 3:40 am

Should Content Be Free?

By Bryan Eisenberg
June 20th, 2007

People love to share content. It’s the reason libraries were created. However, as more and more content gets distributed in digital format, the ease of sharing accelerates. Because of that, content creators try to find ever more ways to protect it.

There’s never been an electronic copy protection platform that couldn’t be hacked, and I doubt there ever will be. Essentially, content keeps struggling to be free. As content creators and owners of intellectual property, we at Future Now struggle with content and copyright questions. If you’re reading this, you’re likely a publisher, artist, or content junkie. Have you been thinking about it?

  • What’s the nature of copyright law, and how does it fit within our new media models?
  • Is there any value assigned to intellectual properties?
  • Obviously, some content is worth paying for, isn’t it?
  • How do you measure the ROI of free?
  • What’s “fair use,” and how should people be allowed to share?
  • Artists & Publishers want to benefit from the value of word-of-mouth, don’t they?
  • What’s the publisher’s role in a direct-to-consumer world?

What are your feelings? Would it be different if you were the publisher and it was your content being shared (without any acknowledgments)?‘s Good Copy Bad Copy is a series that explores some of these issues.

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Comments (7)

  1. [...] 1. The blueprint for a brilliant blog launch 2. Should content be free? 3. Blogging toolbox: 120 + resources for [...]

  2. [...] P.P.S. – What do you think? Can Web radio survive? Should small-time webcasters pay the same fees as big radio stations? Should content be free? [...]

  3. There is no licensing model in place for digital artists like myself to distribute our work for free and still make a living doing it. The industry I’m in of medical illustrators and medical animators is fighting to retain copyright and ownership so that we can be compensated for our life’s work. Our work will continue to be valuable for many years to come! We should not allow our content to be free for others to use, distribute, etc. Our work is already visible on the internet so people can see it- but it’s not right that others should profit off of it.

  4. According to the site, commercial radio pays NO ROYALTIES!!! This is amazing and, if true, points out the power of the lobbies to screw the little guy, yet again.
    From that site:

    MYTH: Broadcast radio, satellite radio and Internet Radio pay the same amount of royalties to creators of music, or pay proportionate relative to the size of their businesses.

    FACT: The smallest medium – Internet radio – pays the most royalties; and under the new CRB royalty scheme the smallest webcasters will pay the highest relative royalties in amounts shockingly disproportionate to their revenue.

    Broadcast radio, an industry with $20 billion in annual revenue, is exempt and pays no performance royalties to record companies or recording artists.
    Satellite radio, which has approximately $2 billion in annual revenue pays between 3 and 7% of revenue in sound recording performance royalties.
    The six largest Internet-only radio services anticipate combined revenue of only $37.5 million in 2006, but will pay a whopping 47% (or $17.6 million) in sound recording performance royalties under the new CRB ruling. In 2008 combined revenues will total only $73.6 million, but royalties will be 58% or $42.4 million.
    Small Internet radio services are essentially bankrupted by the CRB ruling, with most anticipating royalty obligations equaling or exceeding total revenue.


  5. [...] safe for now. Regardless, all of this raises the stickiest point of the old media probate battle: Should content be free? Technorati Tags: Dow Jones, new media, newspapers, new york times, Publishing, Publishing 2.0, [...]

  6. I believe that there will always be content that people will be willing to pay for. Some day, I expect to see big companies creating the very best of content, organizing it and making it available on a micro-payment basis. Assuming content of the highest quality, a penny a page would be a good deal for the consumer and would be a goldmine for the publisher.

  7. Nice SEO tutorial Thanks.
    Effectively Content should be Free to prevent being hacked.
    For your password security, make it stong with combination of letters, numerics, signs and others. For password recovery, set recovery details and never forget them..
    Don’t open unknown attached links in your email.
    Never share your password specially online.
    Better details ion this site, they will help you about hacked email accounts.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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