Better Than Free

In closing my interview with Ronald D. Moore from Battlestar Galactica, Moore voted for the printing press over the Internet.

I've been predicating the queston of Internet v. Printing Press with the phrase "legacy notwithstanding" because the fact that the printing press came first fails to really capture the spirit of my question. It's like saying the wheel was the more powerful invention than the car because it was first. I mean, if you really believe the answer is the printing press, then please come up with an original and creative answer.

Like Moore did.

Moore's answer was one of the few that I felt to be somewhat original and made a great deal of sense. To paraphrase his response (it's probably better to listen to it in my podcast) he felt that the printing press gave more monetary value to the act of copying information and ideas in manuscript form whereas the Internet, by its very nature, is the endless flow of ubiquitous content that devalues the worth of the original product.

Blogger Kevin Kelly makes some really good points about the Internet being a massive copy machine in a post entitled "Better Than Free". Here's a snippet:

The internet is a copy machine. At its most foundational level, it copies every action, every character, every thought we make while we ride upon it. In order to send a message from one corner of the internet to another, the protocols of communication demand that the whole message be copied along the way several times. IT companies make a lot of money selling equipment that facilitates this ceaseless copying. Every bit of data ever produced on any computer is copied somewhere. The digital economy is thus run on a river of copies. Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free.

This is a great post and worth a full read here.

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