May 11, 2006

From Gerald R. Lucas

New Media?

“It’s now obvious nobody yet knows how to create a successful, and truly new, medium.” Steve Lohr, in yesterday’s NYTimes, observes that new media, specifically that based around the Internet, revolves around two aspects: searching and shopping. All else — the promise of virtual reality, multimedia dissemination, and other interactive digital components — has not appeared and is not likely to anytime soon. I tend to put much of the blame on the capitalists — not all mind you, but those like Microsoft, the RIAA, and the MPAA. Progress to these companies means losing control, so they use bullying techniques and special interest lobbyists to keep the potential of new media limited. See any of the “Super-DMCA” legislation that has already passed in several states.

We are not stopped by the technology, folks, just the backward looking companies that are afraid that progress will mean the collapse of their mighty empires. Lohr sees some hope, but progress will come slowly — at least until the powers-that-be can find a way to make a buck and keep it.