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.