Content Can’t Be Sold

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The tech entrepreneur and essayist Paul Graham does not make a Kinsella-style principled case against intellectual property in his essay “Post-Medium Publishing“. But what he does do is reflect in a pragmatic way on how businesses should function in a world that is de facto becoming post-IP. His observations dovetail nicely with the case against IP.

In fact consumers never really were paying for content, and publishers weren’t really selling it either. If the content was what they were selling, why has the price of books or music or movies always depended mostly on the format? Why didn’t better content cost more?

…What happens to publishing if you can’t sell content? You have two choices: give it away and make money from it indirectly, or find ways to embody it in things people will pay for.

2:42 pm on September 18, 2009