Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Micropayments and the Economics of IP on the web

The two articles below are both interesting discussions of the ways in which Internet micropayments may change the role of Intellectual Property and content provided on the web.

Briefly, micropayments allow users to make tiny payments with a mouse click to access small pieces of content e.g. a newspaper article, white paper, a film or a tip for a blog post. Being able to easily make small payments, at a small cost for an individual user and an individual piece of content, is important in the hope that for a provider of a piece of content these small payments eventually add up to something significant. This mechanism may provide an incentive for people to post their thoughts and content online.

The first article, by Clay Shirky, makes a convincing argument for why micropayments are doomed to failure and that the web is destined to be free.

The second is an equally convincing rebuttal to Shirky's article, by Scott McCloud, that had me warming to the idea that micropayments really have big potential to change the way people provide content on the web and the business models, or absence of, that go with it.



I've been greatly interested recently in their potential for micro-tipping - providing an after the fact mini-tip for something you enjoyed reading. Any others have any thoughts or experience with micropayments?


Blogger Joseph Lorenzo Hall said...

I make psuedo-micro-payments all the time ($10 here and there) to non-profits that are doing good work... it seems like highly visible campaigns (such as the Mozilla Foundation's campaign to get a FireFox add in the NYT) to get micropayments have been more and more successful lately...

12:39 PM  

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