Perhaps the most meaningful change in publishing is that it is no longer based on a scarcity model — as Clay Shirky put it recently, “the core problem — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.”
Now, publishing is based on an abundance model.
Users can leverage an infrastructure on par with or superior to anything a publisher can leverage. They can write, edit, critique, share, link, and aggregate with relative ease.
And they can respond, contribute, and connect instantaneously.
A post at the Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog caught my eye recently, and seemed to dovetail with this question. It’s worth reading. And it pointed to a post by Peter Jackson at Thomson Reuters, who makes an even more tantalizing point: what if books (and, I’d add, journals) are no longer products, but services?
If information is no longer bound up in products, but is instead becoming a dialogue, what role does copyright have? If information is a service that is shared between the initial purveyor and the user, and there is a feedback loop (remember, this is an abundance model with an audience that shares the infrastructure with you), when/what/why do/can/would you copyright?
Leave a comment. Maybe one of us will copyright it.