Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Copies vs Links

Hopefully a short dump of ideas while I'm thinking about how to solve a problem with a database here. Kelly's comments on the field of Science putting more value on links got me thinking about - of all things - Google. Created by two scientists who pretty much used the same idea that was behind those Citation Indexes that all Science undergrads once had to trudge through (until Google Scholar). From there you learned that the value of what your prof said was related only to the number of times there was a reference to the work in question in that book. Of course it seems that profs who gave those assignments more often were ones that had at least a half dozen entries in that book. You also learned that if you wanted to do well on a paper, it was often wise to check the number of references to that paper in the book before deciding to use it as the base of your mid term. It's clear here that the links are the vector that value rides on, not always the content. I'm sure it's the same in Arts, and I know that I've been sucking the ego juice when I see something that I've written referenced as well. It's the ego juice part where the "money" sits in my opinion. Creators are for the most part removed from their product (Marx in effect!) that the real value that they take in their work is seeing what it brings to others. Of course, there are millions of people out there that are not thinking this way, and they see the paltry sum that they are paid for their work as being adequate compensation for their meagre contribution to the whole (I'm thinking the vast majority of music, entertainment and sports here). To take an example from say music. U2 is one of my favourite bands of all time. They have certainly made their money and have so handsomely. But I would argue that their greater payment is seeing the millions of faces in concert and seeing how they are talked about and referred to as being an inspiration to others. On the other hand look at the Bride of Cleatus (Farkers will know who I'm talking about), she is also well paid, but when people speak of her, it's not always positive and contact with real people who are consuming the product is minimal. The links to U2 are strong and valuable, links to the later are not worth as much. The problems arise when we try to quantify the value of those links, because they are relative. We could do it by volume, or some other measure, but would that be fair? We could try some other means, but in the end we are still left with the problem - who then controls the creation of these links? The answer to that is nobody does. But then the question is, if nobody does, how do we know the value of any given work? Well we don't until links are made. This may be forecasted (which is something I would argue that sports/music and other entertainment would say in response to a comment like this), but it should really be done based on what has come before. So for music, the record companies would be paying the same to any new act that they bring on, and then based on the sheer volume of downloads, sales and the rest, they decide that they will pay some new amount for the next album. You are likely thinking - hold the phone isn't that how it works now? And to that I say, yes it is, but the problem is that the industry wants a cut from every stage and that is where my argument is lacking... where would the industry make their money? Thinking to the books - if the copyright holders, or those who believe that they hold the copyright allowed access to all these books, they would be able to see in some manner what the actual value of those works would be. There may be some treasures buried away, but we'll never know unless the doors are opened to the vaults. Once the links are established, the owners can fairly ask for a reasonable sum that reflects the value of the work in order to gain access, and this would be indexed to the use of the work as well - more if it's going to add value to another work, less if it's for personal use. So rather than ask an exorbitant fee for every scrape, copyright holders would see (likely) a greater return on their holdings if they used this model. Just thoughts. Technorati Tags: ,