Simon's Unsubject Podcast
The Post-Copyright Era

The Post-Copyright Era

Information Overload and Why Ideas and Experience Matter More than Ever

The 15th-century introduction of the printing press led to the increased distribution of literary works, prompting writers to seek protection for their intellectual property. In 17th-century England, the Licensing Act of 1662 granted limited rights to authors, providing them exclusive control over the printing and distribution of their works. This early form of copyright protection marked a significant step in recognizing the value of creative works and the importance of providing authors a means to profit from their intellectual endeavors.

As we enter an age of AI and abundant information, adaptation and embracing new ideas become crucial.

Advertising vs Subscription: The Two Basic Media Business Models

The emergence of advertising as a business model coincided with the 20th-century rise of mass media. Advertising-based business models shaped the media landscape by generating revenue for content creators and providing audiences with free or subsidized access to information and entertainment.

Subscription and paid models have persisted as alternatives, particularly for media outlets catering to niche audiences. These models deliver exclusive, high-quality content, charging subscription fees or requiring direct payment, ensuring a sustainable revenue stream.

AI and the End of Media Business As Usual

The proliferation of AI-generated content presents a new challenge.

The resulting flood of information will cause advertising "real estate" to skyrocket, leading to a decline in the average advertising dollar, and making traditional content production less viable. The overload of information has already caused a deficit in attention. Google and Facebook are busy fighting the massive inflation of content created almost at zero cost.

As AI becomes adept at creating diverse and engaging content, the perceived value of paid, exclusive information may diminish. Algorithms themselves cannot be copyrighted as they are considered mathematical formulas or abstract ideas. Copyright law protects original creative expressions but does not extend to ideas, facts, systems, or methods of operation.

There is debate on whether machine-generated content cannot and should be copyrighted. The prevailing viewpoint agrees that granting machine-generated content copyright could potentially result in numerous claims, overwhelming the legal system and hindering innovation by restricting access and reuse of machine-generated works.

Copyrights protect intellectual property, while paywalls monetize that protected content by limiting access to paying subscribers. If contents are not copyrightable, will audiences be willing to pay for subscription services?

Non-copyrightable content will definitely "sneak" out of the paywall.

Remember this: “information wants to be free.”

Focus on Ideas and Experience, Not Information

What will drive the information and entertainment industry in the future?

The game industry is on the path to dominate the time we spend, especially when machines will greatly increase our productivity, thus leaving us with more time to experience life. Sports will be another area where people find excitement and participation.

Unlike mere information, ideas provide purpose, values, and motivation to act. In this post-copyright era, understanding and coming up with new ideas become increasingly important.

In my line with work, the answer to what I can do in the future lies in ideas.

Good ideas are rare, and great ideas are even rarer. To come up with new ideas, I actively seek out different perspectives, appreciate why people think differently, and evaluate ideas based on the evidence available.

It is not just the ideas or viewpoints, but how I interact and engage with my audience. Do I understand my audience’s state of mind? What kind of experience I am providing? This is why I am presenting the work myself, and polishing my presentation every day.

Most importantly, am I providing any value with fresh, different ideas?

While technology and machine learning can help us augment and disseminate ideas, bear in mind ideas are fundamentally rooted in the human experience. The creativity, empathy, and insight that humans possess serve as the foundation for the generation and understanding of ideas.

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Simon's Unsubject Podcast
unsubject covers (1) random topics; (2) the Sinosphere and the world; (3) economics, public policy, and technology.