Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Digital Media, The I-Pad, and Bloggers’ Copyrights and Protections.

1 27 10 Apple released the I-Pad, allowing us to “hold the internet in (our) hand”. What affect will this have on print media? Are current media laws adequate for a paperless society?How will the ability to “hold the internet in your hand” affect writers’ protections under current copyright laws?

Apple announced the release of the ½” thick digital reader and internet, the I-Pad, said to be “as transformative to culture…as the printed book” (  ) . With wide applications for use in education, business and government, how can content contributors monitor and maintain the ownership and usage rights to their internet published works?

At the start of the computer revolution, a debate raged as to the effect that computers and the internet would have on print media. Although we have not yet seen the “paperless” society foretold by analysts, the publishing industry has changed dramatically, from the cancellation of “evening edition” newspapers to the ability for anyone to self publish both written and audio-visual works for digital download via the internet.
With Steve Jobs’ dream to “hold the internet in your hand” becoming reality with the popularity of I-Phones, Blackberry’s, and other emerging smart phones, the I-Pad, in some version, will no doubt have a great impact on media production and publishing. With touch screen technology the I-Pad will be mostly an information retrieval and storage system, and not an alternative to a fully functioning computer. It also does not use Flash or Adobe applications, which are both entrenched in digital multimedia. David Carr of the New York Times, writes about the unveiling and agrees that the I-Pad is a device for consuming media, not creating it, and asks “are media companies ready to deliver?” Carr points out that although book publishers appear to be on-board, magazine publishers have not yet embraced the I-Pad. Still, Carr believes that the I-Pad may “open up a whole new frontier for developers and publishers”, depending on the success of the business models used to present the content. CNN also notes that the I-Pad may even save “old” media, should newspapers and magazines develop models that will drive both people, advertisers and content to the screen. Primarily, it appears that the media industry is still searching for ways to make money by displaying on the I-Pad.

Price and availability to the device will be a determining factor in the success of the I-Pad, and also how it will change media. As a separate and new application apart from I-phones and computers, it will not replace either, but be an additional method of retrieving media. In addition to the practical issues of transmitting and consuming media digitally, there are also many legal and rights issues surrounding digital media, and with each new application, new regulations to protect content producers must be examined. While print media has the advantage of being permanent, information contained in blogs and other digital sites is often transitory, and while it may be available at one time, unlike printed books, the information can disappear into cyberspace as quickly as it appeared. The success of the I-Pad will depend on this ability of the content producers to profit by presenting media that advertisers will be willing to invest in and that consumers will be willing to pay for.

©Kim Rojas
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