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[qi:085] OK, I admit it. I’ve become one of those snooty guys who is telling the rest of us what the future will look like. Case in point: I’m one of the authors of the “Internet Manifesto,” a collection of positions about the future of journalism […]

[qi:085] OK, I admit it. I’ve become one of those snooty guys who is telling the rest of us what the future will look like. Case in point: I’m one of the authors of the “Internet Manifesto,” a collection of positions about the future of journalism that was published yesterday. The original manifesto was in German, collectively written by 15 journalists and bloggers more or less known in the German new media landscape, but it has since spread well beyond the krautosphere. Journalist Jeff Jarvis tweeted about it yesterday, an official English version was published earlier today, and users have contributed Finnish and Romanian translations.

The manifesto is a collection of 17 declarations about the future of media production online. At the core of the text is the claim that the Internet is a different medium with a disparate social and cultural impact than traditional mass media, and that publishers need to acknowledge these differences, rather than pretending they don’t exist or trying to make them go away. “Tradition is not a business model,” we wrote, arguing that we need new forms of journalism rather than regulations to protect the old. Fine by me, you might think, but why would anyone need a manifesto for that? Well, let me tell you why.

Newspaper publishers all around the world have been mounting attacks against search engines, aggregators and bloggers in recent months. Germany’s news industry has been no exception. German publishers have been advocating for stronger intellectual property rights, demanding revenue-sharing agreements from Google and even envisioning a world in which anyone would have to pay a licensing fee just for quoting from an article. All of this culminated in the Hamburg Declaration that was initiated by German publishing heavyweights such as Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, but has since been signed by Wall Street Journal publisher Robert Thomson, News Corp.’s James Murdoch, and others. Here’s a short abstract:

“Numerous providers are using the work of authors, publishers and broadcasters without paying for it. Over the long term, this threatens the production of high-quality content and the existence of independent journalism. For this reason, we advocate strongly urgent improvements in the protection of intellectual property on the Internet.”

In other words: Outlaw fair use, make people pay for quotes and give us the right to define who links to us. This is the same kind of mindset that led to the AP’s demands to be paid every time its headlines show up on Google and that causes many publishers to consider putting all of their content behind pay walls and shut out any kind of public discourse.

Compare that to what we wrote in our manifesto:

“Copyright is a cornerstone of information organization on the Internet. Originators’ rights to decide on the type and scope of dissemination of their contents are also valid on the net. At the same time, copyright may not be abused as a lever to safeguard obsolete supply mechanisms and shut out new distribution models or license schemes. Ownership entails obligations.”

I can’t speak for every author of the manifesto. We’re a diverse bunch. Some of us are full-time bloggers, while others, including myself, actually make a fair amount of their living working for traditional mainstream news organizations. We all may hold slightly different beliefs about the future of monetizing professional journalism, and one can certainly have a spirited discussion about charging users for some types of content online. (GigaOM offers up free content on a network of ad-supported blogs, but charges for our subscription-only research and analysis service.)

We are, however, united in the belief that stronger copyrights and regulations against linking, quoting and indexing online content are not only the wrong way to go, but outright dangerous for both the future of online media and society as a whole, and we felt the obligation to stand up against these ideas now.

  1. [...] en este post, uno de los autores del manifiesto se explaya sobre las razones que tuvieron para escribirlo. Si te gustó, [...]

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  2. [...] One of the authors, Janko Roettgers, says the manifesto was written in response to the Hamburg manifesto. [...]

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  3. Though I’ve spent the greater part of my interminable political life organizing in some fashion against the backwards politics and ideologies of corporate greed, this is one case where I think the marketplace as functions on the Internet is on our side.

    Variations on the media theme as practiced by Om should continue to flourish. The group provides valuable services, infotech, etc..

    Slugs like Murdoch exist as the last remaining parasites of hard-copy journalism, providing only the economics of scale and speed [and sport, probably, thinking of Sky and Fox] which worked before we had alternatives which provided depth in comparison to TV Talking Heads.

    Not any more. Add in everyone and his dog offering opinion, evidence, description, depiction and even when the quality widely varies – there’s enough there to make Uncle Rupert’s plea for cash a hollow note in the cyber-halls of history.

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  4. [...] Pour aller plus loin : quelques explications de Janko Röttgers à lire chez Giga Om. [...]

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  5. [...] broken over the “Internet Manifesto” during the last few days. Written by a group of 15 journalists and bloggers in Germany, the list of 17 positions on the future of journalism serves as a half-decent State of [...]

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  6. [...] about the very different rules that cover the user-generated media of the Internet. These scholars, as noted by one of the contributors, Janko Roettgers, in a post on GigaOm, put together this to publish and embrace 17 declarations about the future of media production [...]

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  7. I agree with the points in the manifesto.

    BUT

    I think this is a time for demos…. not memos.

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  8. Bravo! Bravo! And it is great that GigaOM lives up to these principles. Can’t say the same for many other quality sites.

    The reality is that the trends we are living are inexorable. We do have some choices (please forgive the cliche): lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way.

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  9. [...] um documento redigido por 15 jornalistas e bloggers alemães que se uniram para elaborar uma resposta coerente e sucinta à famosa e polémica Declaração de Hamburgo em que os responsáveis pelos [...]

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  10. [...] duas leituras. Janko Roettgers, um dos autores do Manifesto, escreve: Time to Take a Stance on the Future of Journalism. E Miguel Caetano, um dos mais activos divulgadores luso-brasileiros dos modelos abertos e [...]

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