Writing, Intellectual Properties, and the Internet

I’ve largely ignored my web log as I’ve assumed this new nearly full-time job developing lesson plans for a distance curriculum. I’m having a lot of fun with that. But it really means that the web log has suffered a new second fiddle status. Over the past three years I basically poured all of my creative energy into daily snippets that I shared freely with the world. And now I’m involved in a commercial product.

I find myself thinking of how the world has changed. The paper publication is in its death throes.

While I’m a bit of a dinosaur relic of a previous century I am aware that the internet is a powerful medium shaping and changing the way we acquire and use information. It has the potential for an economy of scale that boggles. With this in mind I’m fairly convinced that print media is dead (magazines and newspapers). Ultimately all useful publishing will be focused on electronic media and will be of negligible cost to the reader and user of that information.

Economy of scale is really the salient factor here. If I work 2,000 hours a year on a product that is read and used by 300 people I’m barely scraping by (barely making mortgage payments) with the modest pricing that I’ve established. If—OTOH—I have 5,000 readers then I’m really making more money than is necessary for an honest working man, and I’d have to cut the price of the product by 80%… and then I’m hunky dory. I’d even have enough money for a health plan (which will be more expensive and limited on coverage because the Republicans won’t allow an inexpensive and equitable public option… ever).

Now, let’s take it another step. If I have 100,000 readers I’ve entered a new realm altogether. Essentially the reader would pay absolutely nothing and compensation to “content experts” would be accomplished by advertising (pay per click) options that constitute the economic back-bone of the internet. Indeed, the online publication would require the input of a host of content experts who share their knowledge on a regular basis and all of whom would be compensated based on the readership that they attract to the electronic publication.

I say all of this in a manner that sounds like I know what the hell I’m talking about. But there’s a very real difference between understanding the implications of internet and understanding how to accomplish that thing. I do believe that the internet should be “free”. And I’m dedicated to creating a ready reference for fans of dog training and dog agility that is going to be free. Like I said, the paper pub is dead.

How do we get there? I haven’t the slightest idea. We’ll see where the natural unfolding of events takes us.

Quoth

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. And Check out my latest publication the Go the Distance ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Notebook – Jan 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/

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4 Responses to “Writing, Intellectual Properties, and the Internet”

  1. Carolyn Pfrank Says:

    Author Michael A. Stackpole has discussed this subject- on a fairly regular basis- on his website, http://www.stormwolf.com. He has some really interesting ideas.

  2. Michelle Says:

    ALthough I don’t think that all printed media will disappear, I agree it is on the decline. But there is something special about holding the book you are reading, something I treasure. I bought books this past Christmas, both as gifts and for myself, to remind myself of what I’d been missing. I agree that the future will offer more e-books and e-zines and they will be so much cheaper. I will just miss books. Scrolling through a file and reading on a monitor is just not the same.
    And, btw, I am infuriated that there is no public health insurance option in the health care bill. We are becoming a 3rd world country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class disappears.
    Sad.
    Michelle

    • budhouston Says:

      Hey Michelle,

      I like a good book as well. I qualified my statement to mostly mean periodicals and magazines. Though it’s certainly true that certain kinds of paper books will be displaced by the internet, notably encyclopedias and cookbooks. This might be true of some agility content as well. For example, I’m considering putting agility games out there as a Wikipedia free resource. I’m torn by the notion. You know, it’s a boatload of work. And I keep giving stuff away… and barely pay the mortgage as it is. lol

      Regards,
      Bud

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