NEF - Le Livre 010101 de Marie Lebert - From the Print Media to the Internet

From the Print Media to the Internet (1999)
9. Perspectives

9.1. Print Media and the Internet
9.2. Intellectual Property
9.3. Multimedia Convergence
9.4. The Information Society

9.1. Print Media and the Internet

As shown all throughout this study, the Internet is opening new perspectives in all the sectors of the print media.

In any field (literature, sciences, technology, etc.), authors can create a website to post their works - they no longer need to wait for a publisher to distribute them. And, thanks to e-mail, communication with their readers has become much easier.

On-line booksellers are able not only to sell books published in their own country, but also sell foreign books or sell abroad, or both. The readers can read on their screen excerpts or full texts of books. Many on-line bookstores offer an extensive literary magazine with an editorial content which changes every day.

The dream of catalog managers to be able to give access to a document through its bibliographic record is no longer totally utopian. It is already the case for a few thousand works belonging to public domain. Organizations are also studying the possibility of posting commercial documents on the Web, in return for a royalty tax corresponding to the copyright rights, which could be paid by credit card.

Libraries have a new tool for letting the public know their collections better, and for developing projects for real or potential users. The Internet is also a gigantic encyclopedia, easily available for consultation by the libraries' staff and readers.

Many newspapers and magazines' latest issues are available on-line, as well as "dossiers" on current events and archives equipped with a search engine to find information from previous issues. We are also witnessing the first steps of an on-line press which would be different from the paper version and would have its own criteria. Some publishers of specialized periodicals, as well as academic and research works, are thinking about becoming "only" electronic to escape the paper publishing crisis, or making only small print runs when necessary.

Besides this gigantic and lively encyclopedia, the people working in these different fields can increase exchanges thanks to electronic mail and discussion forums. For once, a (relatively) cheap new tool permits people to communicate quickly and worldwide with no concern for time and boundaries.

The disruption of the print media by the Internet has led to new perspectives for intellectual property and regulations about cyberspace. The so-called "multimedia convergence" has led to major changes in jobs. We are living the first years of the information society. Will this society provide any changes for the better?

9.2. Intellectual Property

The massive arrival of electronic texts on the Web is a real problem for applying the rules relating to intellectual property. Digital libraries, for example, would like to post commercial documents but can't do so yet, until there is a system allowing the surfer to pay the equivalent royalties. With a few clicks, any text or article posted on the Internet can be very easily retrieved and copied - much more easily than by photocopying - without its author being paid for the use of his text. And what about all the hyperlinks giving access to all kinds of documents from one website?

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an intergovernmental organization which is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations System of Organizations, says on its website:

"As regards the number of literary and artistic works created worldwide, it is difficult to make a precise estimate. However, the information available indicates that at present around 1,000,000 books/titles are published and some 5,000 feature films are produced in a year, and the number of copies of phonograms sold per year presently is more than 3,000 million."

WIPO is responsible for the promotion of the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among States, and for the administration of various multilateral treaties dealing with the legal and administrative aspects of intellectual property. Intellectual property comprises two main branches: (1) industrial property, chiefly in inventions, trademarks, industrial designs, and appellations of origin; and (2) copyright, chiefly in literary, musical, artistic, photographic and audiovisual works.

Copyright protection generally means that certain uses of the work are lawful only if they are done with the authorization of the owner of the copyright. As explained by WIPO in International Protection of Copyright and Neighboring Rights, the most typical are the following:

"the right to copy or otherwise reproduce any kind of work; the right to distribute copies to the public; the right to rent copies of at least certain categories of works (such as computer programs and audiovisual works); the right to make sound recordings of the performances of literary and musical works; the right to perform in public, particularly musical, dramatic or audiovisual works; the right to communicate to the public by cable or otherwise the performances of such works and, particularly, to broadcast, by radio, television or other wireless means, any kind of work; the right to translate literary works; the right to rent, particularly, audiovisual works, works embodied in phonograms and computer programs; the right to adapt any kind of work and particularly the right to make audiovisual works thereof."

Under some national laws, some of these rights - which together are referred to as 'economic rights' - are not exclusive rights of authorization but, in certain specific cases, merely rights to remuneration. In addition to economic rights, authors (whether or not they own the economic rights) enjoy 'moral rights' on the basis of which authors have the right to claim their authorship and require that their names be indicated on the copies of the work and in connection with other uses thereof, and they have the right to oppose the mutilation or deformation of their works.

Started in July 1993, the International Trade Law (ITL) Monitor was one of the very first law-related WWW sites, and the first dedicated to a particular area of law. The site is run by Ralph Amissah, and hosted by the Law Faculty of the University of Tromso, Norway. The section relating to Protection of Intellectual Property gives access to various documents, including the European Commission Legal Advisory Board (LAB): Intellectual Property.

Until the payment of royalties for copyright is possible on the Web, digital libraries focus on 19th-century texts, or older texts, which belong to public domain. In many countries, a text enters the public domain 50 years after his author's death.

In Clearing an Etext for Copyright, Michael Hart gives Project Gutenberg's volunteers some rules of thumb for them to determine when works enter the public domain. For the United States:

1) Works first published before January 1, 1978 usually enter the public domain 75 years from the date copyright was first secured, which is usually 75 years from the date of first publication. (This is the rule Project Gutenberg uses most often).

2) Works first created on or after January 1, 1978 enter the public domain 50 years after the death of the author if the author is a natural person. (Nothing will enter the public domain under this rule until at least January 1, 2023.)

3) Works first created on or after January 1, 1978 which are created by a corporate author enter the public domain 75 years after publication or 100 years after creation whichever occurs first. (Nothing will enter the public domain under this rule until at least January 1, 2053).

4) Works created before January 1, 1978 but not published before that date are copyrighted under rules 2 and 3 above, except that in no case will the copyright on a work not published prior to January 1, 1978 expire before December 31, 2002. (This rule copyrights a lot of manuscripts that we would otherwise think of as public domain because of their age.).

5) If a substantial number of copies were printed and distributed in the U.S. without a copyright notice prior to March 1, 1989, the work is in the public domain in the U.S."

When Project Gutenberg distributes in the United States, U.S. law applies. When it distributes to other countries, local law applies.

Project Gutenberg and The On-Line Books Page, among others, are concerned with the new Copyright Extension. On October 28, 1998, John Mark Ockerbloom wrote in the News of The On-Line Books Page:

"The copyright extension bill mentioned in the October 9 news item is now law, having been signed by President Clinton on October 27. This will prevent books published in 1923 and later that are not already in the public domain from entering the public domain in the United States for at least 20 years.

I have started a page to provide access to copyright renewal records, which eventually should make it easier to find books published after 1922 that have entered the public domain due to nonrenewal. I welcome contributions of additional records, in page image, text, or HTML format.

Although the bill has become law, I would encourage readers to speak loudly in support of the public domain. Congressional testimony indicates that some in the entertainment industry favor even longer copyright periods, effectively preventing anything further from ever entering the public domain. Your voice is needed to help stop this from happening."

Journalists, too, are particularly concerned by this problem of intellectual property rights. During the ILO Symposium on Multimedia Convergence held in January 1997, Bernie Lunzer, Secretary-Treasurer of the Newspaper Guild, United States, stated:

"There is a huge battle over intellectual property rights, especially with freelancers, but also with our members who work under collective bargaining agreements. The freelance agreements that writers are asked to sign are shocking. Bear in mind that freelance writers are paid very little. They turn over all their future rights - reuse rights - to the publisher and very little in exchange. Publishers are fighting for control and ownership of product, because they are seeing the future."

Another participant to this Symposium, Heinz-Uwe Rübenach, of the Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers (Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger), said:

"Copyright is one of the keys to the future information society. If a publishing house which offers the journalist work, even on an on-line service, is not able to manage and control the use of the resulting product, then it will not be possible to finance further investments in the necessary technology. Without that financing, the future becomes less positive and jobs can suffer. If, however, publishers see that they are able to make multiple use of their investment, then obviously this is beneficial for all. Otherwise the costs associated with on-line services would increase considerably. As far as the European market is concerned, this would only increase competitive pressures, since United States publishers do not have to pay for multiple uses."

DOI: The Digital Object Identifier System is an identification system for intellectual property in the digital environment. Developed by the DOI Foundation on behalf of the publishing industry, its goals are to provide a framework for managing intellectual content, link customers with publishers, facilitate electronic commerce, and enable automated copyright management.

The Introduction to the Digital Object Identifier specifies:

"The Internet represents a totally new environment for commerce. As such, it requires new enabling technologies to protect both customer and publisher. Systems will have to be developed to authenticate content to insure that what the customer is requesting is what is being delivered. At the same time, the creator of the information must be sure that the copyright in the content is respected and protected.

In considering the new systems required, international book and journal publishers realized that a first step would be the development of a new identification system to be used for all digital content. This Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system not only provides a unique identification for that content, but also a way to link users of the materials to the rights holders themselves to facilitate automated digital commerce in the new digital environment.

Developed and tested over the last year, the DOI system is now being used by more than a dozen U.S. and European publishers in a pilot program that has been running since July. Participation in Phase Two of the Prototype was extended to all publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 1997."

Penny Pagano, a former Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer. In Intellectual Property Rights and the World Wide Web, an article published in AJR/NewsLink, she wrote: "Today, those who create information and those who publish, distribute and repackage it are finding themselves at odds with each other over the control of electronic rights."

Among many comments mentioned by Penny Pagano is the one of Dan Carlinksy, writer and vice president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, in New York.

"'The electronic explosion has changed the entire nature of the business,' Carlinsky says. In the past, articles sold to a periodical essentially 'turned into a pumpkin with no value' once they were published. 'But the electronic revolution has extended the shelf life of content of periodicals. You can now take individual articles and put them into a virtual bookstore or put them on a virtual newsstand.'

The second major change in recent years, he says, is 'an increasing trend to more and more publications being owned by fewer larger and larger companies that tend to be international media conglomerates. They are connected corporately with an enormous array of enterprises that might be interested in secondary use of materials'."

To get secondary rights, "the National Writers Union has created a new agency called the Publication Rights Clearinghouse (PRC). Based on the music industry's ASCAP [American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers], PRC will track individual transactions and pay out royalties to writers for secondary rights for previously used articles. For $20, freelance writers who have secondary rights to previously published articles can enroll in PRC. These articles become part of a PRC file that is licensed to database companies." Several companies participate, including UnCover, both a fax reprint service and the world's largest database of magazine and journal articles.

9.3. Multimedia Convergence

Because of computerization and communication technologies, previously distinct information-based industries, such as printing and publishing, graphic design, the media, sound recording and film-making, are converging into one industry. Information is their common product.

Wilfred Kiboro, Managing Director and Chief Executive of Nation Printers and Publishers Ltd, Kenya, made the following comments during the ILO Symposium on Multimedia Convergence held in January 1997:

"In content creation in the multimedia environment, it is very difficult to know who the journalist is, who the editor is, and who the technologist is that will bring it all together. At what point will telecom workers become involved as well as the people in television and other entities that come to create new products? Traditionally in the print media, for instance, we had printers, journalists, sales and marketing staff and so on, but now all of them are working on one floor from one desk."

Journalists and editors working on-screen could go directly from text to page make-up, which eliminated the need for rekeying and shifted preliminary typesetting functions from the production to the editorial staff. In book publishing, digitization has speeded up the editorial process, which used to be sequential, by allowing the copy editor, the art editor and the layout staff to work at the same time on the same book.

Employers try to convince us that the use of new information and communication technologies will create new jobs, whereas unions are sure of the contrary.

Heinz-Uwe Rübenach, of the Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers (Bundesverband Deutscher Zeitungsverleger), carried out an inquiry relating to the on-line services and the staff of European newspaper publishers.

"The responses revealed that in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and France there were on average three employees, that is journalists, in each on-line service. These were newly employed people who had not originally come from more conventional newspaper activities. In Germany, an average of six permanent jobs are created per on-line service and roughly five freelance positions as well. There were no jobs lost in publishing houses as a result of the new activities of newspapers in on-line services. These figures, while not totally representative or complete, do indicate a general trend, which is that when newspapers add on-line services to their activities, jobs are created."

However it is difficult to admit that the information society would generate jobs, and it is already stated worldwide that multimedia convergence leads to massive loss of jobs. In the same Symposium, Michel Muller, Secretary-General of the French Federation of Book, Paper and Communication Industry (Fédération des industries du livre, du papier et de la communication), stated that, in France, the graphics industry had lost 20,000 jobs - falling from 110,000 to 90,000 - within the last decade, and that very expensive social plans had been necessary to re-employ those people. He explained:

"If the technological developments really created new jobs, as had been suggested, then it might have been better to invest the money in reliable studies about what jobs were being created and which ones were being lost, rather than in social plans which often created artificial jobs. These studies should highlight the new skills and qualifications in demand as the technological convergence process broke down the barriers between the printing industry, journalism and other vehicles of information. Another problem caused by convergence was the trend towards ownership concentration. A few big groups controlled not only the bulk of the print media, but a wide range of other media, and thus posed a threat to pluralism in expression. Various tax advantages enjoyed by the press today should be re-examined and adapted to the new realities facing the press and multimedia enterprises. Managing all the social and societal issues raised by new technologies required widespread agreement and consensus. Collective agreements were vital, since neither individual negotiations nor the market alone could sufficiently settle these matters."

Quite theoretical compared to the unionists' interventions, the answer of Walter Durling, Director of AT&T Global Information Solutions, was that humanity must not fear technology:

"Technology would not change the core of human relations. More sophisticated means of communicating, new mechanisms for negotiating, and new types of conflicts would all arise, but the relationships between workers and employers themselves would continue to be the same. When film was invented, people had been afraid that it could bring theatre to an end. That has not happened. When television was developed, people had feared that it would do away cinemas, but it had not. One should not be afraid of the future. Fear of the future should not lead us to stifle creativity with regulations. Creativity was needed to generate new employment. The spirit of enterprise had to be reinforced with the new technology in order to create jobs for those who had been displaced. Problems should not be anticipated, but tackled when they arose."

Is it true? People are not so much afraid of the future as they are afraid of losing their jobs. The problem is more the context of a society with a high rate of unemployment, which was not the case when film was invented and television developed. In the information society, what is, and what will be, the percentage of job creations compared to dismissals?

Unions fight worldwide for job creations through investment and innovation, vocational training in the use of new technologies, retraining of workers whose jobs are abolished, fair conditions for the setting-up of contracts and collective conventions, the defense of copyright, a better protection of workers in the artistic field, and the defense of teleworkers as full workers. According to the estimates of the European Commission, there should be 10 million European teleworkers in the year 2000, which would represent 20% of the number of teleworkers worldwide.

Despite all the unions' efforts, will the situation become as tragic as the one described in a report of the International Labour Organization (ILO) suggesting that "in the information age individuals will be 'forced to struggle for survival in an electronic jungle' with 'survival mechanisms' which have been developed over previous decades 's orely tested by change'..."?

In Cyberplanète: notre vie en temps virtuel (Cyberplanet: our life in virtual time) (Paris, Editions Autrement, 1998), Philip Wade et Didier Falkand stated that the United States, Canada and Japan, which are the countries investing the most in new technologies, are also the ones that create the most jobs. A study carried out in February 1997 by Booz.Allen & Hamilton for European Ministers of Industry showed that the European delay has cost one million jobs in 1995 and 1996, because of a technological growth of 2.4% (compared to 9.3% in the United States). According to another study made in January 1997 for the European Commission, 1.3 million jobs could be maintained or created by the European Union between 1997 and 2005. The 300,000 jobs lost in traditional companies would be compensated by 93,000 jobs created by their competitors and 1.2 million jobs created in the sectors of telecommunications, electric and electronic construction, equipment, and distribution of communication products.

Will the traditional distinction between library, publishing house, press publisher or bookstore still exist in a few years? Any writer can create a website, and any website can already create a digital library. More and more libraries, bookstores and publishing houses have no walls, no windows and no shelves. Their premises are their websites, and all the transactions are made on the Web. As for distribution, it is still possible to buy newspapers and magazines at the newsstand or to receive them in the letterbox, but more and more people read them on the Web, and more and more periodicals are "only" electronic.

Will the traditional professional groups (booksellers, editors, librarians, publishers, journalists, etc.) established many years ago stay the same while being more cyberspace-oriented and become cyberlibrarians, cyberpublishers, cyberjournalists, cyberbooksellers, etc.? Or will all these professional tasks be restructured into new professions? With the explosion of the Internet, some information specialists and others decided to move over to companies specialized in computing and the Internet.

Even if information specialists or journalists, for example, convince us they will always be useful, on a general scale the employment trends for the future are far from exciting. Will all the people working in the print media be able to get training and retraining in new technologies, or will they be violently hit by unemployment?

9.4. The Information Society

Jean-Paul, a French musician and writer, wrote in his e-mail of June 21, 1998:

"[...] surfing on the Web operates in rays (I have a centre of interest and I methodically click on all the links included in home pages) or in hops and jumps (from one click to another, as they appear). Of course, it is possible with the print medium. But the difference is striking. So the Internet didn't change my life, but my writing. You don't write the same way for a site as for a script, a play, etc."

He also notes that all the Internet functionalities could already be found in the first Macintosh, which revolutionized the relationship between the user and the information.

"It is not the Internet which changed the way I write, it is the first Mac that I discovered through the self-learning of Hypercard. I still remember how astonished I was during the month when I was learning about buttons, links, surfing by analogies, objects or images. The idea that a simple click on one area of the screen allowed me to open a range of piles of cards, and each card could offer new buttons and each button opened on to a new range, etc. In brief, the learning of everything on the Web that today seems really banal, for me it was a revelation (it seems Steve Jobs and his team had the same shock when they discovered the ancestor of the Mac in the laboratories of Rank Xerox).

Since then I write directly on the screen: I use the print medium only occasionally, to fix up a text, or to give somebody who is allergic to the screen a kind of photograph, something instantaneous, something approximate. It's only an approximation, because print forces us to have a linear relationship: the text is developing page after page (most of the time), whereas the technique of links allows another relationship to the time and the space of the imagination. And, for me, it is above all the opportunity to put into practice this reading/writing 'cycle', whereas leafing through a book gives only an idea - which is vague because the book is not conceived for that."

A very important factor too is the radical change between the book culture and the digital culture. Moving from one to the other as we are doing now deeply changes our relationship to knowledge, because we move from stable information to moving information. During the September 1996 meeting of the International Federation of Information Processing, Dale Spender explained this phenomenon in a very interesting lecture about Creativity and the Computer Education Industry:

"Throughout print culture, information has been contained in books - and this has helped to shape our notion of information. For the information in books stays the same - it endures.

And this has encouraged us to think of information as stable - as a body of knowledge which can be acquired, taught, passed on, memorised, and tested of course.

The very nature of print itself has fostered a sense of truth; truth too is something which stays the same, which endures. And there is no doubt that this stability, this orderliness, has been a major contributor to the huge successes of the industrial age and the scientific revolution. [...]

But the digital revolution changes all this. Suddenly it is not the oldest information - the longest lasting information that is the most reliable and useful. It is the very latest information that we now put the most faith in - and which we will pay the most for. [...]

Education will be about participating in the production of the latest information. This is why education will have to be ongoing throughout life and work. Every day there will be something new that we will all have to learn. To keep up. To be in the know. To do our jobs. To be members of the digital community. And far from teaching a body of knowledge that will last for life, the new generation of information professionals will be required to search out, add to, critique, 'play with', and daily update information, and to make available the constant changes that are occurring."

The Internet will not do away with the print media, the cinema, the radio or the television. As a new information and communication medium, it is creating its own space while adapting itself to the other media, and vice versa.

From my point of view, the greatest contribution of the Internet to the print media is that people no longer run after information, but that the information is there, available on their screen, and the quantity of this information is really impressive. While, in the beginning, connecting to the Internet was rather complicated for the average user, it has now become simple (for example, with the iMac). One improvement we are all waiting for, however, is a shorter connection time when accessing any website or individual pages we may wish to consult, especially those with many pictures. Let us hope that is coming soon.

But, once more, we have to remember that, as revolutionary as it can be, Internet is still only a means, as stated in Technorealism Overview: "Regardless of how advanced our computers become, we should never use them as a substitute for our own basic cognitive skills of awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment."

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© 1999 Marie Lebert