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Re: Greetings

On Tue, Jan 08, 2002 at 09:29:05PM -0800, tom poe wrote:
> Nope, It's the MONEY!  You're adding to the cost of accessing information.  
> The problem of gaining access to the Internet is one thing, but then if the 
> user is paying royalties to information providers, then the cost goes up.  
> Big problem for an awful lot of Third world residents.

You appear to be making two (admittedly common) assumptions that I do
not believe are justified:

Firstly, many people focus immediately upon the Xanadu royalty facilities
when the vast majority of content seems likely to be made available
free of charge (zero royalty rate), especially initially where people
have a strong history and expectation of free content on the Internet.

The purpose of having a royalty system is because there is a significant
amount of content of a distinctly different type that is presently not
readily available online (or at least not legally):  Valuable content
created by people whose primary source of income is content creation
and who cannot afford to feed, clothe and house themselves if they give
their creative efforts away for free.  Most of the existing content on the
Internet is created by people who can afford to give it away at no cost
since they derive their income from other sources.

I am not suggesting that one type of content is inherently more valuable
than the other, only pointing out that the purpose of having a royalty
system is to enable both kinds of content to be made available where
presently this does not occur.  Thus people in third world countries may
gain access to more content than they do presently, since the online
royalties would hopefully be relatively low compared to current costs
of content on physical media (and also since the Xanadu system permits
paying for only the parts you actually want, rather than being forced
to pay for a larger aggregation).

Secondly, you assume that people with less money do not have valuable
content of their own to offer.  While the large corporations that have
evolved in our current society are benefited by a producer-consumer
structure, especially publishing companies who gain economies of scale by
promoting small numbers of high profit "bestsellers" rather than a larger
(and more diverse) number of products, it is not at all clear that the
same factors hold true on the Internet where peer-to-peer relationships
are far more effective than ever before.  Surely people in Africa have
stories of their own to tell that might be of financial value just as
much as in any other country.

> Andrew.  I am suggesting that you/we should devote our time to specifically 
> assisting those in poorer nations.  For example, how difficult would it be 
> for you to edit your home page with a short little statement to the effect 
> that Xanadu project -project encourages all publishers to participate in its 
> global responsibility to make as much information as possible to third world 
> nations through - - - whatever.  As I understand it, publishers and users are 
> identified on the system in some way.  At whatever level the gateway is 
> established, is probably a good point to structure affordable information for 
> the population within that segment.  Such an approach envisions Public 
> libraries use on the Internet.  Those in need, can be subjected to second 
> class status through their own population segment.  May be a little clunky, 
> but a real sales obstacle is taken care of by such banter.  

Again I think you are under a misconception.  The Xanadu system is
not intended primarily for conventional publishers at all - they will
probably be the last to accept a system that is so radically different
from their current model.  Project Xanadu encourages everyone to become
a publisher online, in poorer nations and neighbourhoods just as much as
anywhere else.  "Publishers" and "users" are roles that all individuals
using the system take on per transaction, and few users of the system
are likely to have nothing to publish - especially as the system is also
designed to be useful for distributed storage of private information.

I don't understand what you mean by a "gateway" at all.  It is certainly
not our place to advocate what price people may choose to put on the
fruits of their labour, nor to encourage discriminatory pricing!

> The only other thing that comes to mind, at this point, is the possibility of 
> coming at this from the other end.  If a Public Internet library is 
> established, and arranges for funding to pay all royalties, and in turn, acts 
> as the screening agent for those who would apply for assistance, then Xanadu 
> keeps right on truckin' and everyone's happy, and no need to change the 
> system as designed by you folks.  And, quite an impressive feat so, far, IMHO.

There is certainly nothing preventing an organisation from paying the
fees for access to content for others.  Indeed in Australia libraries
do pay royalties to authors in proportion to the number of times the
work is lent and are funded primarily by local ratepayers through their
municipal rates (taxes).  If you propose to set up public access Xanadu
terminals I would certainly applaud your initiative.

	Andrew Pam
mailto:xanni@xxxxxxxxxx                         Andrew Pam
http://www.xanadu.com.au/                       Chief Scientist, Xanadu
http://www.glasswings.com.au/                   Technology Manager, Glass Wings
http://www.sericyb.com.au/                      Manager, Serious Cybernetics
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P.O. Box 477, Blackburn VIC 3130 Australia	Phone +61 401 258 915