Open Content and Value Creation
Aug 01, 2003
Whe I agitate for free and open content, people are always asking me about how the writer is supposed to get paid. I respond that the writer is paid by the publisher, not by the end user, and that the publisher may be paid by any number of entities: government, corporate sponsors, foundations, or technology providers. This last group is the most interesting. They want to sell technology (computers, internet access, software) to end users. But end users need some reason to buy all this stuff. So the technology provider pays for some content, which entices the user to buy the technology. Everybody gets paid. But this is only one model, and not even a prevalent model. For more models, and a good discussion of the economic models behind open source, have a look at this article. It won't really answer the question of how the author gets paid, but it will give you some models to use when you think about payment systems on the internet. And it you think about it, and work the models a bit, you can see that free and open content
be a viable economic model, provided you think about the entire system, and not merelyly the relationship between the writer and the reader.