By producing a purposely obtuse opinion piece: Web 2.0 as a metaphor for ‘rip-off’
Like Napster, YouTube may be the extreme case. Still, both companies, which relied on the use of “free” content, were nourished by the widely held conviction that all Net content should be free. I want to be charitable, but it’s hard to argue against the proposition that Napster and YouTube flourished because of theft.
You can’t get away with that idea in other walks of life. Believe me, I would love to waltz into the local bookstore, browse through the aisles, and walk out with a bag full of novels without making a pit stop at the cashier. Same goes for the record store, or the neighborhood video joint. Life doesn’t work that way. Our social arrangements don’t allow some people to work for others without the remotest chance of receiving compensation. You may remember that this nation fought a civil war to eradicate that despicable practice.
However, when it comes to the Internet, woe to the stick-in-the mud (like me) who fails to swim with the crowd that believes all Internet content must be there for the taking. In other words, it’s a big candy store in the clouds, open to one and all.
Of course, there are free lunch mentalities on both sides of this argument — just no one willing to admit it.