Monday, March 03, 2008

Copies and value

As copies have been dethroned, the economic model built on them is collapsing. In a regime of superabundant free copies, copies lose value. They are no longer the basis of wealth. Now relationships, links, connection, and sharing are. Value has shifted away from a copy toward the many ways to recall, annotate, personalize, edit, authenticate, display, mark, transfer, and engage a work. Authors and artists can make (and have made) their livings selling aspects of their works other than inexpensive copies of them. They can sell performances, access to the creator, personalization, add-on information, the scarcity of attention (via ads), sponsorship, periodic subscriptions—in short, all the many values that cannot be copied. The cheap copy becomes the “discovery tool” that markets these other intangible valuables.

from "Scan This Book!" by Kevin Kelly /New York Times Magazine;cc=bot;rgn=div1;view=text;idno=5283331.0002.001;node=5283331.0002.001%3A6

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