This must be the single most popular post title on my blog…
In response to my earlier post, Yes, Stephen, but Who Cares?, Stephen responds:
I care, David.
Because the next result on Google won’t be the free version, it’ll be another pay version. And the next and the next and the next. That’s how SEO works.
If SEO worked this way, Elsevier and Springer would keep us from ever finding articles available in PubMed. Microsoft would keep us from ever finding Open Office. Adobe would keep us from ever finding the GIMP. Et cetera. And yet, of course, they’re not able to keep us from finding these things. Elsevier alone had over $2 billion in operating profits last year, so they have the “means.” And their entire business depends on people licensing content from them, so they have the “motive.” And if SEO were as easy to manipulate as you say, they’d have the “opportunity.” means + motive + opportunity usually = a crime, and yet I can still find articles in PubMed through Google and Yahoo. If Elsevier can’t get it done, who can? Microsoft has had tons of cash on hand forever, and they haven’t been able to push Open Office to the 30th results page. It just isn’t happening.
And in some places, like your iTunes or your Kindle, the free version simply won’t be available at all. Want the free version? Use 10-year old technology incompatible with today’s learning systems.
How are the ebooks available through Gutenberg not compatible with today’s learning systems? Wouldn’t those include Blackboard, Moodle, and the iPad (both via Safari and ePub compatibility)? It’s true that a single vendor like Amazon can always choose to limit their product’s interoperability, but how does using NC licensing solve that problem? It doesn’t. Vendor attitude problems are a completely different issue. When people vote with their wallets and buy a different vendor’s product (like the iPad), the restrictive vendors will see the error of their ways.
Or they’ll lobby governments to keep the free versions complete unavailable. “Unfair competition,” they’ll cry. They’ll force agencies like the BBC to stop distributing educational content. Convince Africans that locked-down mobile phones with no free content are good enough. Take cities to court to prevent them from offering free internet. Stall internet deployment to keep paper copies and publishing viable in the developing world.
And how does using the NC clause solve any of these problems? It doesn’t. These are different issues altogether. Yes, we need policy reform. Yes we need to hold governments accountable through available processes. Yes we need to vote with our wallets when vendors act irresponsibly. But these aren’t the problem we’re discussing.
I simply don’t understand how you can’t see this, when it’s right in front of your eyes.
I see lots of problems right in front of my eyes, but I don’t see any that the NC license solves.