Betting "Against" the Internet

ERic%20Schmidt.jpgMany are familiar with Google's CEO Eric Schmidt and his quote of November 2006, where he opined:

"What's surprising is that so many companies are still betting against the net, trying to solve today's problems with yesterday's solutions. The past few years have taught us that business models based on controlling consumers or content don't work. Betting against the net is foolish because you're betting against human ingenuity…"


On his web site, Erik Heels, an MIT Engineer, patent and trademark lawyer expertly outlines examples of those who are fighting the basic advantages of the World Wide Web as opposed to those who are adopting the advantages. He raises good points, those which Lessig and others demonstrate. For example, "\When publishers provide partial feeds for their content - or no feeds at all - third parties step in to fix the problem. Gravity. You're fighting gravity. For example, I enjoy reading (and legally reprinting) the Dilbert comic strip and Scott Adams's blog (by Dilbert's creator). But Dilbert's publisher, United Media, does not provide a Dilbert feed. Enter Tapestry Comics, which provides feeds for comics, both official and "unauthorized." The Tapestry Comics Dilbert feed is a full feed. I read it in Google Reader, I share it in Google Reader.The phrase "illegal feeds" makes a good headline, but it is legally accurate? Is "unauthorized feeds" accurate? Do you need the permission of the copyright owner to read their copyrighted works, or is this fair use? What about sharing an "unauthorized" feed item?"

Fundamental to the revolution and adoption of new paradigms in thinking of "ownership" and how the distribution of the Internet functions, is the notion of controlling content. In the new world, controlling content is futile and represents another example of the old vs. the reality of the new. As Heels points out:

"Railroads, electricity, the industrial revolution, television, the Internet. Each revolution has had its opponents. But every technological advance that increases efficiently is a good thing. When efficiency increases, qualify of life improves for everyone. Efficiency is good, inefficiency is bad."