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You’re paying up the wazoo for free information

Nicholas Carr is onto something. Personally, I pay for broadband for my home, and then two data plans for my wife and my iPhones. Why? Because I want access to content 24/7 anywhere I travel. Content/information is not free. I pay handsomely for it – just not to the content creators.

Read his full blog for his observation on free information: “Never before in history have people paid as much for information as they do today.”

It’s a strange world we live in. We begrudge the folks who actually create the stuff we enjoy reading, listening to, and watching a few pennies for their labor, and yet at the very same time we casually throw hundreds of hard-earned bucks at the saps who run the stupid networks through which the stuff is delivered. We screw the struggling artist, and pay the suit.

Somebody’s got a good thing going.

Community Comments

#1 John Read
January/19/2010
@ 2:16 pm

Wouldn’t one way to fight this insanity be to NOT provide free content to the interweb vultures? I, for one, am almost daily amazed at how much free entertainment (and information) is free for the “taking” online. Appreciative of it, sure, but amazed nonetheless.

#2 John Read
January/19/2010
@ 2:21 pm

And I marvel at the fact that many syndicated cartoonists are forced to do more work (for no more money) on their strips, because their syndicates insist it’s a necessary evil. WHich is true, I suppose.

#3 Bryan Young
January/19/2010
@ 3:41 pm

I have been saying that the content on the internet is (mostly) free, you are still paying to see it. Even if it isnt the contents creator. This view of mine goes all the way back to middle school. We had a substitute teacher for our social studies class and we got to the basic law of the land. Everything costs something. I, being the stubborn curmudgeon that I am, argued this point. Since this was when I was in middle school, I didnt know any better. I had never been in the working world. So i argued with different products. Stuff ranging from informational pamphlets to internet, to small stuff like pencils and coins (I was little and found coins lying around. They were free) and he always countered me.

Things cost money. It costs money to make, print, and distribute that free pamphlet about the new game counsel or about safe driving (I also spent alot of time at my local library and always brought home a new pamphlet or newspaper that was free, no matter what the subject was). It costs money to buy the seeds, grow, clean, and distribute that free fruit they give away in the lunch room. And now that I am 21, in the work force, and run my own website with its own content, I can look back and agree with him. Took me until I was 18 and out of high school to understand him to a point, and it took me until March of last year to wholey understand that he was truly right.

This is the point that I always wanted to bring up in any “Print vs. Web” argument that is on here. Though I always kind of feared that it would be pushed aside, with people saying that what you pay to get content online is besides the point, that your point doesnt matter.

So I am just gana say it right now and be done with it. It costs creators money to get thier content online. They pay for hosting, they pay for internet, they pay for supplies. It costs them money. And for new upstarts, that can add up pretty quickly. But then you look at newspapers and I dont want to even think about what the cost is to get those things out and how much they are loosing. See, both sides of this argument are loosing, especially if your a new upstart (like me and so many of my cartoonist friends, who will be in the red for a while until we can get a good following that will buy stuff from us) we will be paying alot of money and get very little back from what advertising will pay us. Both sides cost money.

Ok thats my rant. Sorry for bringing up that Print vs Web thing. But I felt this was the appropriate place to say it.

#4 Ted Rall
January/19/2010
@ 7:19 pm

Don’t forget time, Bryan. Time is money too.

Yes, John, the way for content providers to fight the aggregators (Huffington, Cagle, etc.) is to refuse to give away their work or sell it for next to nothing to them. The problem is, there’s always some hack willing to scab, giving them sub-par content that passes as “good enough.”

Nothing short of a kick-ass union for content providers–one that has most content providers as members threatens to beat up anyone who scabs, i.e. violates the boycott of these vampire capitalists–would be adequate.

#5 Pete McDonnell
January/20/2010
@ 12:27 pm

Good point, Bryan. In regards to cartoonists, yeah, the web costs us all money for access. but how do the content providers tap into the money being made by the delivery services?

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