It had to happen sometime, Google is holding everyone with intellectual property, copyright, you name it, to the terms of a $billion deal involving a class action case, world-wide advertising in every conceivable form to alert writers and publishers to the fact that if they do not opt-out of the programme, they will be entitled to a modest payout for public access in perpetuity. If this sounds like the ransom model, maybe it is. The ransom model was conceived by Eric Murphy, original developer of Jabberzilla, on how to finance the development of a digital identity system. The idea was posted to Crynwr’s Free Software Business listt, which resulted in the Theoretic Solutions Open Think Tank . Ransom is a publishing model where copyrighted works (such as books, software, or music) remain proprietary until a total amount of money is collected or a certain date arrives, at which point the work is automatically freed to the public.
If Google had its way, this amount would be set in stone. As a writer and publisher I am not adverse to the concept considering the benefits. For example – suppose over your lifetime you produce four or five great works, all for the grand sum of $60, there is a certain monetary reward, which distinguishes you from colleagues who have not. Since everybody benefits the world is enriched and you may chart your value with google rankings and page ratings. The system could work if it was not merely inclusive but persuasive – enough people see the benefit of releasing work into the creative domain, the commons is something we share and for generations to come, the world celebrates its share, but are we not then all Google?
Can the Google Identity sustain itself as a search engine that grew-up into a public utility? More of these thoughts as I ponder what was once a NY Times front page story, yesterday or the day before? If only I could say: Sudo do this now, make the link appear, I would be getting somewhere with computing.