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Free Internet Development, Why Not Free News?

Mark Hamilton joins the discussion about giving away news on the Internet. In part one, he writes:

Newspaper publishers who argue that they need their readers to pay for the value they receive have benefited tremendously from value they didn’t and don’t pay for.

Think about it: the internet was built on a highly-subsidized set of connections. The basis of the information beast – the world wide web – was made possible when Tim Berners-Lee developed it and then gave it away. Some newspapers make use of YouTube (free) to host and spread videos. Some build their web sites on Drupal (free). Some use applications such as ffmpegX to encode Flash video (free). Some reporters blog from or blogspot (both free)….I’m only pointing out that some newspapers who argue that folks should be paying for value, have no trouble taking value without paying for it when they can.

Howard Owens writes:

Newspapers have always given their content away for free to readers. Readers don’t pay for content. They pay for delivery. They know it. We know it. Newsstand and subscription prices are set at a level to offset delivery expenses. With digital delivery, our delivery costs on a per-user basis are next to nothing. Whereas, the user is already paying for the device to read the news and the cost of the last-mile infrastructure to deliver it.

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