https://venturebeat.com/2018/01/14/facebook-punks-partners-again-how-publishers-can-fight-back/ talks about Europe's royalty model for publishing, wherein writers/journalists get paid when their material is posted on social media (i.e., when a social network makes ad money by linking to the content), the same way musicians/labels get paid every time their pieces are played on the radio.
It sounds great.
Then I remembered Steve Yegge's epic post deconstructing how devilishly complicated the details of complex things like this can get: https://steve-yegge.blogspot.com/2009/04/have-you-ever-legalized-marijuana.html
🤣 "WHAT THE EVER-LOVING *FUCK* ARE YOU PEOPLE SMOKING? HUH? HAVE YOU EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THIS PROJECT FOR MORE THAN A MILLISECOND? THE SPEC FOR THIS PROJECT WILL BE 5,000 PAGES! IT WILL TAKE THOUSANDS OF MAN-YEARS TO IMPLEMENT, AND *NOBODY* WILL UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS OR HOW TO USE IT…!" 😂
But I hasten to add: just because the exact mechanics of this system will be extraordinarily byzantine does not mean it won't get built, nor that it won't wildly succeed. We've seen crazier things.
@22 our experience with marijuana legalization sounds like a useful counterexample to his argument, though. Legalization is indeed complicated. If you tried to figure out every single detail prior to implementation, it wouldn't have happened anywhere in the US. Instead, states have made high-level (VP-level, say) decisions based on evidence and legal drafting, and assigned regulatory authorities to work out details prior to legalization, and adjustments are made afterwards over time.
@npd You're absolutely right, marijuana has been legalized! But remember that Yegge did *not* say Hard Shit is impossible, on the contrary he says, “Astonishingly, we actually managed to launch at least half those crazy ideas, by burning through people like little tea lights”. But yes he did (over-)emphasize the obstacles to realizing Hard Shit and under-emphasized the slim possibility. I said so in a followup to my own post, and I certainly hope the European publisher royalty system gets built!
@npd The alas-unstated point of my post was: I can think of a long and scary bulleted list of questions about the royalty system publishers are seeking in Europe. Particularly worrisome for me:
- How could a private blogger "opt-out" of the royalty system, i.e., CC0?
- Could a private blogger "opt-in"? Like, I'm going to publish a blog post on my server for anyone to read but if a social media site links to it and makes a bit of ad-money, I want a cut. Would they have to become a "publisher"?
- Will there be a governmental audit force to ensure social media giants are paying fairly? What will compliance requirements look like?
- What happens when software bugs are found wherein aggregators were over/under-paying publishers?
- How to incentivize aggregators to *seek out* more accurate and honest ways of measuring how much of their ad revenue comes from each publisher? Since they have the data, their payout analysis can conveniently cheat and underpay.
@22 I think elaborating on that list of questions, potential answers, and identifying the regulatory levers and groups to help, would be a great addition to fleshing out the idea (rather than a reason it ought not to be pursued).
Online advertisers (including Google) have already conducted some experiments along these lines, e.g. https://contributor.google.com/v/beta