Subscription plans won’t stop the free flow of news online

Alan Mutter, who I have written about before (a few times) posted about a week ago about Apple’s new subscription model. No subscription model will stop the free flow of news, Mutter says, much the same as Apple’s iTunes Store failed to stop Internet music piracy.

In fact, it will be even harder to stem the free flow of news, for these reasons:

  1. News is a commodity neither unique nor proprietary.
  2. News loseWeight Exercises its exclusivity as soon as it’s reported.
  3. Information will find a way around any obstacle.
  4. There is no universal desire among publishers to charge for news content.

By all means, read Mutter’s post for the full explanation. These are not new ideas. I have read variations on them over the years in different forums, but they are worth remembering, especially as more and more papers out there look for ways to dig moats around their content online.

(Yes, I know most people usually say building “walls” around content, but that’s the wrong medieval imagery. Walls imply some sort of safety. Moats, on the other hand, are vile cesspools that stick to high heaven.)

By the way, my favorite quote from the article:

The Internet is a highly redundant, self-healing network that originally was designed to assure the flow of information would not interrupted in the event any node in the system were destroyed in a nuclear attack. As sturdy as the network is, the individuals who use it are even tougher. Publishers in an open society like ours can never hope to thwart those who are intent on liberating their content.