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section heading icon     rights trade

This page looks at online syndication services and markets for selling articles, papers or books to publishers. It also looks at anonymous publication schemes.

It covers -

     rights management

A separate guide deals with Intellectual Property - Australian and overseas developments regarding copyright, patents and trademarks in the digital environment.

Information about trade in copyright collections (eg film and music catalogues) is provided here.

     syndication

There is a dawning realisation that consumers visit sites to conduct transactions or to access content, not for the joy of admiring someone's code. Along with navigation, "content is king".  

But content does not fall from the skies like a nicely roasted duck, silver knife and fork attached. Given the difficulty sites experience in generating their own content - it is challenging, it is expensive - many are replicating traditional publishing models by buying syndicated content.

Five experiments of interest are:

Byline, "the world's first Internet syndication service", offering instant global access - within a sophisticated electronic rights management and licensing system - to a growing bank of journalism. Journalists and other rights holders can post articles electronically, for global or more restricted licensing. Editors, publishers and other potential customers are able to search the site for print syndication and use of material in online/offline electronic forms.

Screaming Media - the name is some indication that the company was founded by the former head of one of the zanier major advertising agencies - offers content in which to embed your online advertisements. For those interested in developments with online advertising we supply a few pointers (more will appear in future) in our Marketing guide to industry and academic studies.

Rightscenter.com - developed by maverick and master of self-promotion John Brockman, Rightscenter is advertised as "the publishing network of the next century", with publishers, authors, agents and others able to identify and trade books over an extranet. Our assessment is that so far most players prefer to use the networks of the current century, particularly if they can 'do lunch' in the process. As of mid 2000 Rightscenter.com had around 1,000 titles.

iSyndicate.com - styled as "the content marketplace", iSyndicate distributes graphics, text, audio and video content from 880 sources to a claimed 223,000 sites.

In contrast, Knexa seeks to dispense with the intermediary. Like several US and EU schemes it is a "new online marketplace for buying and selling digital articles and books". Authors set prices on their work: would-be readers either pay the price or make auction-like bids. Users can browse the items for sale or ask a question and wait for an author to propose a priced answer. Users can rate the authors and are encouraged to base their purchases in part on these ratings. Knexa takes a 20% commission on each sale.

For images one perspective is offered by Exploiting Images & Image Collections in the New Media: Goldmine or Legal Minefield? (London: Kluwer 1999), an uneven but valuable collection of essays edited by Barbara Hoffman. The answer to the question is of course that it's both a goldmine - Hoffman suggests that the market is worth upwards of US$1 billion with a 15% annual growth rate - and a minefield.

     Anonymous Publication schemes

Data havens and systems for anonymizing publication of text have gained some attention in academic and cyberlibertarian circles as a means of subverting censorship or copyright. Ian Clarke, for example, sniffs that

Copyright law attempts to prevent communication in some circumstances. And therefore, in order for Freenet to do its job successfully, it must prevent enforcement of copyright law

through an anonymous Peer to Peer scheme such as Gnutella (discussed in our Intellectual Property guide). That's reminiscent of Jaron Lanier's alarmist article in defense of Napster, asserting that copyright is "a massive government-sponsored protection racket" and "if we make Napster-like free file sharing illegal, we'll have to rid ourselves of either computers or democracy".

Projects include -

Anderson's Eternity Service
Charles University Eternity Service
FreeHaven, an academic project at MIT
Clarke's Freenet and its Espra offshoot
Gnutella
the Intermemory Project
Mojo Nation
OceanStore
Publius
TAZ and Rewebber
Usenet Eternity


 



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version of March 2002
© Bruce Arnold
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